In early 1967 a group of concerned citizens, including church leaders, members of the League of Women Voters, health professionals, and representatives of the Kansas Welfare Department formed a task force to address the need for competent child care services in Salina for low-income families.  Out of that task force was formed the Salina Day Care Association, Inc. which opened the first Salina Child Care Center in June of that year in the facilities of Christ Cathedral and the First United Methodist Church.  There was an enrollment of three children; the co-directors were Isabel Mason and Nancy Hodges.  In the fall of that year, the Association purchased a residence/apartment at 809-811 W. Iron for the first home of Center #1.  In 1968 it hired its first full time director, Jodi Matthews Ediger, who continued to direct until 1972.

In 1969 Center #2 was established at Grand Avenue United Methodist Church and center #3 was opened at Church of the Cross to serve handicapped and mentally retarded children.  In 1970 Center #3 was moved to the Grand Avenue location to provide a “side by side” program which successfully maintained many enrollees.  Also, in 1970, Center #1 moved to First Presbyterian Church to more adequate quarters.

In 1972 Janet Boss became the director for one year.  In 1973, Catherine (Kitty) Beverly became the director and continued until 1984. In October 1974, the Association officially changed its name to Salina Child Care Association.

The year 1975 was a turning point for the Association. It was decided to open a new center (Center #4) at Sunrise Presbyterian Church to serve the people in south Salina.  During that same year, the program for handicapped and retarded children (Center #2) was terminated, its control and operation being transferred to Occupational Center of Central Kansas as a part of their program.  Also, in 1975 Center #3 was closed so that service needs and staff could be concentrated on the newly opened Center #4. During the summer of 1981, the Association initiated a new service, a summer day program for school aged children.  In late 1982, part time child care was added.

An important part of the history of Salina Child Care Association was the part it played in establishing the Title IV-A program for the State of Kansas.  As indicated, low income families have been a priority of the Association.  Title IV-A was the State’s response to providing funded child care for low income families through subsidy and purchase of service.  Salina Child Care was one of the first programs in the state to utilize Title IV-A program dollars and was instrumental in pilot testing many of the policies and reporting systems. Due to cuts in federal funding for child care and a decreased enrollment, Center #4 was closed in 1983. 

In 1984 Elaine (Reh) Edwards became the Executive Director.  At this time the Association was operating from the First Presbyterian Church. In October of 1986, Salina Child Care Association became a sponsoring organization for family day care homes participating in the Child and Adult Care Food Program, a USDA nutrition reimbursement program.  Salina Child Care Association offered nutrition education, technical assistance and issued reimbursement checks to family day care homes in Saline and surrounding counties.

To meet an increased community need for infant/toddler care, the Association opened Salina Child Care Infant/Toddler Center at 406 S. 5th in November, 1990 with Asbury Hospital providing the facility, renovations and in-kind contributions.  This facility was re-located in February 1999 to 634 E. Ash and expanded at that time to serve additional infants and toddlers.

In April, 1998 SCCA partnered with Heartland Early Education to provide early education and child care for qualifying Early Head Start and Head Start children needing full day services.  To our knowledge, SCCA was the first program in Kansas to enter into this type of child care partnership.

In April, 2012 both centers moved into the new Donna L Vanier Children’s Center located at 155 N. Oakdale Ave. Salina Child Care added additional classrooms and staff.  The move was made possible by the generosity of the Salina Regional Health Foundation, the family of Donna L Vanier and numerous community donors.


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