Strategic Plan

Strategy 3.2

Build a culture throughout the early childhood care and education system that respects and strengthens family voice.

3.2.1   Respond to the cultural, ethnic, racial, language, and socioeconomic characteristics and preferences of families to create equitable family engagement opportunities at the state level.
State agency led tactic.

3.2.2   Promote the Kansas Family Engagement and Partnership Standards for Early Childhood as a framework in developing family-friendly programs, policies, and practices. Provide training on how to implement the standards in a variety of early childhood care and education settings, including family child care, so that programs can complete self-assessments, collect data on family engagement, and use data to inform action.
State agency led tactic.Statewide and community-level partnerships.

3.2.3   Use family engagement initiatives such as the Kansas Family Advisory Team, Parent Leadership Advisory Council, Head Start Policy Councils and Parent Committees, and the annual Parent Leadership Conference to strengthen family voices in leadership, including but not limited to gaining insights into child development and the family’s role in supporting development and learning, reviewing proposed policies, and informing programs.
State agency led tactic.Local individual or small group champions.Statewide and community-level partnerships.

3.2.4   Identify and replicate effective family engagement strategies from across Kansas, including compensation for families, engaging family representatives as members of statewide task forces and advisory boards, and as participants in the planning, development, delivery, and evaluation of programs.
State agency led tactic.Local individual or small group champions.Statewide and community-level partnerships.

Progress Update

The Family Advisory Council led by KDHE has expanded to five workgroups including Maternal/Woman, Early Childhood (Birth –5), Childhood (6-11), Adolescence (12-21), and Children with Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN). Kansas Department for Health and Environment’s Maternal Child Health team, with input from The Family Leadership Team and Family Advisory Council, began work to implement a coordinated statewide family engagement strategy guide , including a Family and Consumer Partnership Toolkit recently published on the Kansas Maternal and Child Health website.

Community partners including the Kansas Children’s Service League host several family engagement opportunities, including parent cafes, support groups, and the Parent Leadership Conference. Family engagement is also an element of many PDG Quality Subgrants, including the development of online, interactive, early childhood modules and local events such as community baby showers and back-to-school nights. Family engagement is significant for implementing the Kindergarten Readiness Quality Subgrants.

Several initiatives involve partnering with families who have experience navigating the early childhood care and education system, including: the IRIS Cultivation Cohort, Early Childhood Recommendations Panel (including work with the Family Partnership/Navigation Workgroup) and Thriving Families Safer Children. The Kansas Family First Family Council, an advisory board of Kansans with experience in the child welfare system and/or prevention services as a caregiver or as a youth, will contribute to statewide decision-making.

The Kansas Children’s Cabinet partnered with the Washburn University Children and Family Law Center to produce a training series for legal professionals focused on cultivating family well-being through use of the Strengthening Families Model in a legal context.