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Kansas Early Childhood Transition Task Force adopts final report

Kansas Early Childhood Transition Task Force adopts final report

On Monday, Dec. 11, the Kansas Early Childhood Transition Task Force adopted its final report and presented it to Gov. Laura Kelly. This report outlines recommendations for how Kansas can streamline and strengthen administration of early childhood programs.  

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

The purpose of the Task Force was to examine Kansas’ early childhood system and identify steps the state can take to reduce burdens placed on families, increase accountability for early childhood programs, and eliminate inefficiencies and gaps in service. 

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.  

Over the past several months, three workgroups 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.  

The final report includes recommendations in three areas: 

  • Transition logistics: The report recommends that Kansas should streamline its early childhood governance structure by unifying early childhood care and education services into a single state entity – either by consolidating into an existing state entity or by creating a new state agency. The report outlines the recommended processes and timelines for this change beginning on page 50.  
  • Programmatic movements: The report specifies which early childhood programs should be co-located in the proposed new unified early childhood entity beginning on page 53. These include:  
  • State programs impacting the delivery of child care services. 
  • The Kansas Children’s Cabinet and Trust Fund. 
  • Home-visiting programs. 
  • The Kansas Head Start Collaboration Office, the Kansas Early Head Start Child Care Partnership and Kansas Early Head Start Home Visitation. 
  • The report recommends that preschool programs currently housed in the Kansas State Department of Education should remain in their current location, given the prevalence of these programs being administered by local unified school districts and some elements of their funding are provided through the school finance formula. 
  • Metrics and Data: The report recommends a range of metrics to determine whether the state of Kansas is making improvements beginning on page 55.  

The report also includes suggestions that, while not formal recommendations, were raised over the course of the Task Force’s work as possible opportunities to move the state early childhood system forward. These future considerations on page 57 include reviewing the current funding structure for the state’s preschool programs and exploring ways to increase collaboration with non-USD-based preschools. 

Visit the Early Childhood Transition Task Force webpage for the work completed by the Task Force in 2023. These recommendations will inform discussion and decision-making during the 2024 legislative session. 

Visit the Kansas Legislature YouTube page for a recording of the Dec. 11 meeting, including remarks from Gov. Kelly. 

Email KSDE Director of Early Childhood Amanda Petersen (apetersen@ksde.org) with any questions about the Task Force’s work, recommendations or next steps.  

Posted: Dec 14, 2023,
Comments: 0,
Author: Ann Bush

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