Jefferson County will receive state funding for the fifth year in a row to study and implement early childhood education initiatives in the area.

Gov. Steve Beshear announced this week the 21 counties that would receive some of the state’s $600,000 worth of grants to implement the Community Early Childhood Councils program.

The councils include local leaders who meet and address how to improve early childhood education issues in their respective communities. The $50,000 allotted to Jefferson County is the seventh grant the county has recieved since the program began in 2000.

For the past three years a majority of that money has supported a kindergarten screener program, said Julie Leezer, director  at Cardinal Hill Rehab Center for Louisville Easter Seals and also chair of the Jefferson County council.

The Jefferson County council is composed of 18 members and includes representatives from non-profit organizations and the mayor’s office.

Leezer said the Ages and Stages program gives parents a tool to understand how prepared their child is for school.

“It’s a screener just to screen your child to see if they’re having any type of delays or if their development is on target,” she said.

Nearly half the budget supports this program, she said. The remaining funds support various professional developments for educators and further community outreach.

The Kentucky Department of Education has also taken an interest in screening students prior to beginning kindergarten. The state is asking some districts to test a program this fall, which it wants to implement in all counties the follow school year.

Here are the amounts Jefferson County has received for the program according to the Governor's Office for Early Childhood:

2013 $50,000

2012 $50,000

2011 $22,500

2010 $40,000

2009 $40,000

2008 active Council but did not apply

2007 active Council but did not apply

2006 $40,000

2005 $40,000

2003 $50,000