Building a shared online resource for parents, caregivers, and early childhood professionals in Douglas County

Jul 20, 2022

TYKES Douglas County provides a comprehensive online hub of local and expert resources for early childhood development stakeholders seeking community and support

The Need

According to the Kansas Children’s Cabinet Needs Assessment, 67 percent of children ages 5 and younger in Kansas live in households where all adults are working. And in a national 2021 poll, 36 percent of households with children reported their children feeling depressed, anxious, and stressed, and having serious problems sleeping, and 36 percent of adults in households with children reported they experienced serious challenges meeting both their work and family responsibilities. The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed families and early childhood systems to the very brink of their respective resources. Although united in the goal to provide a safe and nurturing environment for children to grow and learn, parents, caregivers, and early childhood professionals in Douglas County lacked a shared platform to share their resources, expertise, and lived experiences with each other.

The Solution

With Quality Subgrant funding, the Community Children’s Center worked with several partners to develop TYKES Douglas County, an online resource hub, for parents, caregivers, and professionals working in early childhood. Each of the above stakeholders have distinct and critical contributions in supporting early childhood in Kansas, but a lack of a trusted network can leave many feeling isolated in their efforts and or vulnerable to misinformation. By providing accessible and reliable information, TYKES Douglas County elevates the experiences of communities in Douglas County while also expanding visibility to established resources and networks that are dialed-in to serving local communities. Encompassing physical and mental health, education, and family well-being, TYKES Douglas County covers the expansive topic of early childhood development in a comprehensive approach that is easy to follow and strives to ensure that no family feels left alone.

The Outcome

After an intensive discovery phase, TYKES Douglas County evolved into an opportunity to collaborate with many county partners to help build its resource hub to be responsive in meeting family needs:

  • Lawrence Public Schools USD 497
  • Lawrence Public Library
  • Child Care Aware of Eastern Kansas
  • LMH Health
  • Lawrence Chamber of Commerce
  • Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health
  • Imagemakers, Inc.
  • Unite Us

These partnerships and the hub’s linked social service agencies were critical in envisioning TYKES Douglas County as an integral pillar supporting families in their search for services and supports as well as providing direct representation of their perspectives and experiences. By targeting stakeholders in early childhood development while also prioritizing community connection, TYKES Douglas County is now live and is positioned to help strengthen families with tools, resources, and opportunities to connect with each other and with educational and service organizations across the county.

“TYKES Douglas County is about building a sense of a community around the shared goal of giving our children the best possible start in life. It is our hope that what starts out as an online experience builds a bridge to an agency and human connection to strengthen the early childhood safety net for our county” — Kim Polson, Community Children’s Center executive director

Contact

To learn more about TYKES Douglas County and how to support investments in early childhood in Douglas County, email Kim Polson, Community Children’s Center executive director, at kimpolson@communitychildrenks.org.

What’s Next?

With assistance from Quality Subgrants and its partnerships, TYKES Douglas County has the scale and resources to grow into other counties in Kansas. By expanding its network of community partners, TYKES Douglas County can further develop the content and reach of its resource hub and support cross-sector efforts to sustain investments in the early childhood system in Kansas.

About Quality Subgrants

Quality Subgrants equip communities with the resources they need to ensure every Kansas child thrives. Organizations that received Quality Subgrants address needs and gaps through locally-driven ideas and approaches. In 2020, Quality Subgrants were awarded across five categories. The subgrants address All in for Kansas Kids Strategic Plan Goal 2: Community-level Collaboration; Goal 5: Capacity and Access; Goal 6: Workforce; and Goal 7: Quality and Environments.

Spotlight

  • Early Childhood and Literacy
    This Issue Brief discusses the reasons for and actions behind promoting literacy beginning in early childhood, and it makes the case for increased investment in children during the early years so that all Kansas children are equipped for success in grade school and beyond. […]
  • Connecting and Engaging With Families in Kansas
    The Early Childhood Policy Matters podcast features the Our Tomorrows story gathering project, how it was influenced by the Preschool Development Grant Birth - 5 initiative, and what it means for the future of Kansas. […]
  • 2021 Kindergarten Readiness Quality Subgrantees
    2021 Kindergarten Readiness Quality Subgrants recipients close the gap for local communities seeking comprehensive and strategic support for Pre-K children. Improving the rates of kindergarten readiness requires coordinated and accessible services and opportunities that empower and engage community members. […]
  • Ensuring play space equity for rural communities in Marshall County
    The Kansas Children’s Discovery Center’s Rural Discovery Play Space Project used a collaborative and community-based approach to construct an educational play area in Marysville, Kansas. […]
  • Early Childhood Governance Summit
    On January 21, groups from the Kansas Early Childhood Governance System presented highlights including progress to date, goals for 2022, and discuss opportunities to work together to accomplish the goals of the All in for Kansas Kids Strategic Plan. […]

TWITTER

Join us next Friday, August 19, at 9am, for the Kansas Early Childhood Recommendations Panel meeting. The Panel plays a key role in helping us achieve the vision outlined in our #AllinForKansasKids⭐ Strategic Plan. Details: https://t.co/odo6ACD1KJ https://t.co/Wfm4xHFGC4 KCCTF photo
Let’s grow! 22% of eligible Kansas children are enrolled in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Become a Community Champion today and help us get that number to 100%. @dollyslibrary #ImaginationLibrary https://t.co/0rkIGMPswx https://t.co/gxc7y9r0WZ KCCTF photo
Connect with early childhood stakeholders from across Kansas at noon today for the #AllinForKansasKids⭐ Bi-Weekly Webinar. https://t.co/A9zBpg6ofb https://t.co/cmOE2bzYlc KCCTF photo
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