KSDE Weekly

Feature Story

Kansas Early Childhood Transition Task Force meets to discuss recommendations

The Kansas Early Childhood Transition Task Force met on Wednesday, Oct. 18, to review and adopt its recommendations regarding how the state of Kansas administers early childhood programs.

Executive Order 23-01 established the Task Force and charged it with developing a framework for consolidating the administration of early childhood initiatives and funding.

The Task Force previously reviewed the current landscape of Kansas' early childhood programming and collected information about how other states have reorganized early childhood program administration in recent years. In June, the Task Force conducted a community engagement tour to gather feedback from Kansans.

During the past several months, three workgroups have developed recommendations addressing which early childhood programs should be included in an effort to consolidate programming, the logistics of how a transition should occur, data and metrics to track progress, and other potential actions that could strengthen the Kansas early childhood system.

Recommendations of the programmatic movements work group included:

  • A unified early childhood entity should colocate a variety of programs encompassing child care, early childhood grants and services, and home visiting.
  • All identified programs relating to child care - Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF), Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), and Kansas Children’s Cabinet and Trust Fund - should be realigned under one entity to ensure adequate collaboration and drive statewide strategies on child care. The new entity should serve as the central point for improving the child care system across the state.
  • The new entity should include the colocation of home visiting programs currently administered by four agencies - DCF, KDHE, Kansas Children’s Cabinet and Trust Fund and KSDE - to create a continuum of care, rather than the current fragmented approach that currently exists within the state. One entity providing oversight and vision for home visiting should lead to enhanced collaboration among the multiple providers of the various models of home visiting offered in the state.
  • Head Start programming and operational supports currently housed within the DCF should be transitioned to the new entity.
  • Preschool programs housed in KSDE should remain in their current location.

Recommendations of the transition logistics work group included:

  • Kansas should streamline its early childhood governance structure by either creating a new state agency/entity or consolidating early childhood care and education services into an existing state entity.
  • The new entity should be located within the executive branch, be led by an executive and operate under the jurisdiction of the governor. The new entity should appear on the state’s organization chart and serve as its own fiscal agent.
  • The Kansas Legislature would consider authorizing this change during the 2024 legislative session. A transition period would occur in 2024. The new entity would be established and begin operations July 1, 2025, with transition work completed by July 1, 2026.

Recommendations of the metrics and data workgroup included:

  • For child care subsidy, the new entity should track the number of families receiving child care assistance; the time it takes for a family to become enrolled in a child care assistance program; the number of providers enrolled to accept child care assistance or subsidy; and more.
  • For child care licensing and availability, the new entity should track the number of licensed child care slots in the state; the number of child care facilities in the state; the time it takes for a provider to become licensed; the time between receiving fingerprints and results of a background check; and more.
  • The new entity should track the median wage of child care workers; the number of individuals working in child care; the retention rate of child care workers in licensed facilities; and more.
  • The new entity should track the number of children and families participating in a home-visiting program; the number of home visits in which a child and family participate; the number of different funding streams utilized for home-visiting programs; and more.
  • Other metrics recommended include the number of businesses providing direct child care or financial support for child care; the operational capability of the new entity on the first day of its operation; the number of children enrolled in a pre-K program; kindergarten readiness; the amount of federal funding Kansas currently pulls down for early childhood programs; and more.

Visit the Early Childhood Transition Task Force webpage for meeting materials and the Kansas Legislature YouTube page for the meeting recording. The task force will meet again on Dec. 11 to adopt and present its final report of recommendations to Gov. Laura Kelly. Members will receive the final report by email prior to the meeting.

Posted: Oct 19, 2023,
Categories: Feature Story,
Comments: 0,
Author: Ann Bush

Theme picker

Copyright 2024 by Kansas State Department of Education | 900 SW Jackson St. | Topeka, KS 66612 Privacy Statement  |  Terms Of Use  |  System Maintenance Notices  |  Open Records (PDF)

The Kansas State Department of Education does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, or age in its programs and activities. (more information...)

To accommodate people with disabilities, on request, auxiliary aides and services will be provided and reasonable modifications to policies and programs will be made. To request accommodations or for more information please contact the Office of General Counsel at gc@ksde.org or by 785-296-3201.