FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) — Gov. Andy Beshear announced that $19.3 million in federal funds has been awarded to Kentucky from the second round of the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund 2 (GEER II) for educational support services due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
These funds will provide student mental health services; family support; college, career and transition services for students; and assistance for college-bound students and families in need.
“This additional $19.3 million in funding will provide much needed help and services to both public and private schools and school-based family support centers that are serving families and children during this trying and difficult pandemic,” said Gov. Beshear. “These cradle-to-career services promote well-being and help students as they return to the classroom and resume a more normal routine.”
“These are stressful, challenging days for everyone, including our students, families and educators,” said Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman, who also serves as secretary of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet (EWDC). “These funds will target mental health support, transitional assistance so that students are not left behind and resources that are easy to find and navigate. Funding these services can be a life preserver for students and families who feel overwhelmed by the pandemic, learning from home and now transitioning back to the classroom during uncertain times.”
The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSA) was signed into law on Dec. 27, 2020, and provides an additional $4 million for the GEER Fund.
The GEER II funds will be allocated among the following areas.
Family Resource Youth Services Centers – $15 million
The $15 million in competitive grants will be managed by the Division of Family Resource Youth Services Centers (FRYSCs) in the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS). Each local center will compete for a maximum allocation of $100,000 with a focus on early childhood education and child care and family crisis and mental health counseling.
- Early childhood education/child care: Full-time preschool child care for children 2 and 3 years of age. FRYSCs will identify, coordinate, and/or develop resources and support for child care.
- Family Crisis and Mental Health Counseling: FRYSCs will assist students and families with mental health needs and/or other crises through identifying and coordinating services for various challenges, such as grief, illness, bullying, incarceration, dating/domestic violence, loss of income, trauma, isolation and anxiety.
Higher Education – $3 million
The Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) will manage a total of $3 million in competitive grants to public and private colleges and universities. A maximum of $100,000 per campus would fund a Summer Bridge Program to support students in need as they transition to college. It would improve college preparation and retention during a time when college and career counseling has been reduced because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
College and Career Academies – $1 million
Funds will be managed by CPE to establish college and career school counselor academies and coaching models in partnership with college advisors, FRYSC staff and high school counselors.
Better Kentucky Portal – $300,000
EWDC will combine applicable cabinet resources to fill existing gaps and create a one-stop, online portal to support the Commonwealth Education Continuum, job training, job placement and wrap-around services. The portal will provide families with information about opportunities for college and career planning by developing a comprehensive, centralized and interactive online resource.