Blueprint for Early Childhood
The Blueprint for Early Childhood is our state’s strategic framework for ensuring that every child thrives.
While the paths to success may vary, our vision of every child thriving and this Blueprint are intended to guide innovative program design, partnership development, sharing of best practices, and tracking toward long-term outcomes for children and families.
Young children, birth to 5, and their families rely on a strong foundation in the Kansas early care and education system. The Blueprint guides decision making system-wide and locally so that every community, every provider, every stakeholder, and every parent can rely on a network of support that promotes healthy development, strong families, and early learning.
BLUEPRINT FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD
EVERY CHILD THRIVES. All children will have their basic needs met and have equitable access to quality early childhood care and education opportunities, so they are prepared to succeed in kindergarten and beyond.
OUR VISION in action…
COMMUNITY AND PARENT FOCUS. Local communities are equipped and connected in ways that make navigating systems easy for parents to receive what they choose and need to support the healthy development of their children.
WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT. Kansas prioritizes and supports early childhood care and education professionals with clear standards and pathways to enact best practices.
QUALITY PROGRAMS AND SERVICES. Communities address their specific needs and challenges through coordinated strategies that improve access, availability, and quality.
SYSTEM ALIGNMENT AND COORDINATION. Kansas aligns the early childhood care and education system for equity and maximum impact, with state agencies coordinating and integrating services so communities and families experience seamless, respectful, and responsive supports.
INNOVATION AND SCALING. Kansas champions innovation and creates opportunities to invest in the future of Kansas kids.
why early childhood?
The prosperity of our state depends on the wellbeing of our youngest Kansans. Investing in early childhood programs yields significant returns through improved health, education, and economic outcomes. We know this because a child’s brain grows the fastest in early childhood, making this a significant period of intervention and impact. Supportive relationships and healthy environments are most critical in the early years.
The best possible start in life requires that we all work together to build a strong foundation.
The Blueprint provides the common language, shared vision, and guidance necessary for cross-sector collaboration in the delivery of high-quality programs and services, and it provides a common frame for determining impact on children and families.
The Blueprint and the Strategic Plan for the Kansas Early Childhood Care and Education System align the activities of agencies and providers in our state’s mixed-delivery system around common goals. The Blueprint also aims to maximize parental choice and awareness of early care and education options, and guides the Cabinet’s investment portfolio.
A SOLID FOUNDATION
Healthy Development, Strong Families, and Early Learning
These three “building blocks” are the foundation for collaboration across sectors, with multiple champions working toward high quality, accessible, and affordable programs and services for young children and families across Kansas.
WHAT DOES A SOLID FOUNDATION LOOK LIKE?
Pregnant women receive prenatal care and education
Infants are born at adequate birth weights, are safe and stable, and receive optimal nutrition and nurturing
Children receive physical and mental health screenings and interventions, are current with immunizations, and reach developmentally appropriate milestones
Families can afford early childhood care and education
Early childhood professionals have specialized training, and are competent, credentialed, and effective
Child care facilities and homes, early learning programs, and family support services are able to meet the demand for services and are high quality
No children experience poverty, abuse, or neglect
Kansas kids and families thrive when they have equitable access to comprehensive health and developmental services.
Promote early prenatal care and education, insurance coverage, and ongoing support for pregnant women
Promote comprehensive care and insurance coverage for children and families
Ensure equitable access to prevention and intervention services in early childhood for optimal health outcomes
Screen universally for healthy development
Overcome barriers and stigma around mental health care and services
Promote inclusion of children with disabilities into natural environments
Address workforce shortages/gaps in health and behavioral care services
SAFE, STABLE, AND NURTURING RELATIONSHIPS
Kansas kids and families are stronger when their basic needs are met.
Support parent involvement and leadership
Promote safe, stable, and nurturing relationships to ensure children have strong, healthy starts
Support opportunities for families to earn a living wage
Promote cross-sector partnerships and coordination to address comprehensive needs of families, including food and housing security
Promote, evaluate, and enhance evidence-based family support programs
Promote the facilitation of peer-to-peer support opportunities
Support family-friendly workplace policies to help employees reconcile their work and family responsibilities
Kansas kids are prepared for success in kindergarten and beyond when their families have equitable access to quality care and early learning environments.
Ensure high-quality care to meet basic needs of all children by promoting adequate funding for core services and quality enhancements
Promote a range of choices in early learning experiences (community-based, school-based, home-based, faith-based) and support economic development of businesses to maximize high-quality options
Promote effective transitions over the lifecourse, including transitions into kindergarten and transitions across sectors as children and families seek services and support
Support inclusive and culturally sensitive training for early childhood professionals based on established core competencies
Support the use of early learning standards to increase consistency and quality of services
KANSAS ECCE SYSTEM