Representatives from state agencies, organizations, and community partners from the Kansas Early Childhood Governance System met on February 16, 2024 for the 3rd annual Kansas Early Childhood Governance Summit. Following the Statewide Needs Assessment and the All in for Kansas Kids Strategic Plan priority to connect statewide efforts in supporting and providing early childhood services, the Early Childhood Governance Summit provided the opportunity for group representatives to share their work and report how their progress aligns with the direction and goals established in the All in for Kansas Kids Strategic Plan.
The state-level coordination efforts, led by the Kansas Early Childhood Advisory Council, improved the facilitation of interagency and organizational cooperation in federal and state-funded child development, child care, and early childhood education programs and services. With each group’s distinct yet expansive focus areas like health care, behavioral health, and early childhood care, and the system’s current method of providing a broad range of services and supports to families (frequently referred to as a mixed-delivery system ), the summit allowed all participants and stakeholders to see each group’s purpose and the development and advancements being made in all focus areas. Under the shared mission of making the Kansas early childhood system comprehensive in its resources, and to build the system’s capacity to be accessible and inclusive for all Kansas families, these groups convened at the Summit to share their progress and accomplishments to date, and their goals for 2024:
- Early Childhood Recommendations Panel
- Child Care Systems Improvement Team
- Governor’s Behavioral Health Services Planning Council’s Children’s Subcommittee
- Family Advisory Council
- Family First Statewide Interagency and Community Advisory Board
- Family Leadership Team
- Home Visiting Leadership Group
- Kansas Early Childhood Data Trust Governance Board
- Kansas Early Learning Standards
- Maternal Child Health Council
- Quality Recognition and Improvement System Advisory Board
- State Interagency Coordinating Council
- Workforce Development Advisory Group
View the entire recording of the Early Childhood Governance Summit, access the presentation slides, and see a summary of Progress and Goals below.
With support provided by the Kansas Early Childhood Advisory Council’s governance structure and Preschool Development Grant Birth Through Five (PDG B-5) funding, many groups were able to increase and amplify the scope of their work by aligning standards and processes across the state. By centering the voices and needs of families in Kansas, greater system coordination and collaboration identified service gaps and opportunities that expanded education and trainings, services, and resources for both service providers and the families they serve.
With the emergency response of the pandemic becoming a long-term endeavor and priority, many groups have assessed their work over the past two years and seen where their efforts converged. With their time in re-evaluating and responding to strains in the system, several groups have learned where they can be more dynamic in building out ways to ensure access to quality early childhood services, which includes increased support for professional workers, expanding location and service options, and continuing to center community voice and engagement.