Governor Laura Kelly and other early childhood leaders from across Kansas announced today that an $8.9 million grant from the Administration for Children and Families has been awarded to continue efforts to strengthen the early childhood system in Kansas. The funding is the first installment of a 3-year renewal of Kansas’s Preschool Development Grant Birth Through Five (PDG B-5) initiative.
“These funds will be imperative in helping to keep up our current momentum as we work to improve our state’s early childhood system,” Governor Kelly said. “This grant is particularly welcome now, as the COVID-19 pandemic has caused an additional degree of stress on early childhood in Kansas. With it, we will continue to fight for the health and safety of children and families in our state.”
Leaders from the Kansas Children’s Cabinet and Trust Fund, the Kansas State Department of Education, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the Kansas Department of Children and Families began this collaborative work with a PDG B-5 planning grant in January 2019. The initial grant funded a comprehensive statewide needs assessment, which illuminated what Kansans need and want from their early childhood care and education system.
Over 6,100 parents, early childcare and education professionals, civic and business leaders, and community members provided input. Addressing the findings from these efforts is the foundation of a new statewide strategic plan for early childhood, which was finalized earlier this month.
“After touring the state throughout 2019, it’s clear that although Kansans recognize the importance of high-quality early childhood programs and services, we have work to do,” said Melissa Rooker, Executive Director of the Kansas Children’s Cabinet and Trust Fund. “This grant will allow us to focus on implementation of our strategic plan as we work to strengthen our system and achieve our vision that every Kansas child has the best possible start in life.”
Funding from this grant will support systems-alignment, infrastructure, and innovation at the local and state level. Kansans can expect to see investments in activities that build a sustainable infrastructure for the early childhood system.
Visit the Systems Building tab at www.kschildrenscabinet.org for more information and to stay engaged in the work to strengthen the early childhood system in the coming years.