The Garden City Telegram
9/27/2012
SOUTHWEST LIFE

Russell Child laying the foundation for future success

By DEANNA BERRY
Russell Child Development Center executive director

Russell Child Development Center is a 47-year-old, community-based nonprofit organization with a mission "to lay a foundation of success for all young children and their families through the delivery of high quality inclusive services." Its base office is located in Garden City with 45 employees providing services throughout Southwest Kansas. RCDC is governed by a 10-member board of directors made up of parent and community representatives.

Over the years, RCDC has grown considerably and now serves as the "umbrella agency" for six different early childhood programs. These include tiny-k Early Intervention, Targeted Case Management, Child and Adult Care Food Program, Child Care Aware, Resource and Referral, Smart Start Southwest Kansas and the Learn and Play Early Childhood Block Grant.

The tiny-k program provides services for children age birth to 3 in 12 counties (Finney, Grant, Greeley, Hamilton, Haskell, Kearny, Lane, Morton, Scott, Stanton, Stevens and Wichita counties). Early childhood special education services are provided at no cost for eligible infants and toddlers with developmental delays or disabilities and their families in home and community-based settings.

Targeted Case Management is available in 13 counties (all those served by the tiny-k program plus Seward) for eligible children ages birth to 5 with significant developmental delays and/or disabilities.

The Child and Adult Care Food Program provides food reimbursement and nutritional support to licensed, home-based child care providers in 10 counties (Finney, Gray, Greeley, Hamilton, Haskell, Kearny, Lane, Scott, Seward and Wichita counties).

Child Care Aware serves 26 counties (see tiny-k and Targeted Case Management above, plus Gray, Ford, Hodgeman, Meade, Clark, Pawnee, Edwards, Kiowa, Comanche, Barton, Stafford, Pratt and Barber counties). This program provides support to child care providers by providing training, technical assistance and comprehensive data collection. It also serves as an informational link to the Child Care Aware® of Kansas call center, where parents can find out about available licensed child care in their area.

Smart Start Southwest Kansas supports children birth to age 5 in 13 counties (see tiny-k and respite above). The project provides flexible funding, with a primary goal of supporting evidence-based community programs that support young children and families. Smart Start core areas of service include Quality of Early Childhood Education, Child Health and Strengthening Families. Funding assistance is provided to a wide variety of community partners, including public libraries and health departments, preschools and child care centers, early childhood agencies and programs, and families.

The Learn and Play Project supports collaborative community partnerships in Gray, Meade, Clark, Hodgeman, Scott, Wichita, Greeley, Hamilton, Stevens, and Haskell counties to increase the availability of quality, inclusive, evidence-based early learning opportunities in rural areas. Regularly scheduled "play group" meetings for children birth to age 5 involve their parents and caregivers in activities designed to enhance learning and development.

For more information regarding any of RCDC's programs, call 275-0291 or (888) 877-3717, or check out our website at www.rcdc4kids.org.

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