Community chimes in as state develops early-childhood strategic plan Featured

Around 30 area residents participated in the first of two community input sessions in Emporia on Monday as the state develops an early-childhood strategic plan. Around 30 area residents participated in the first of two community input sessions in Emporia on Monday as the state develops an early-childhood strategic plan. Chuck Samples/KVOE News

Input from a pair of community meetings in Emporia this week will help to flesh out a strategic plan for early childhood development across Kansas.


The community engagement sessions -- better than 30 in all -- come as the state uses an early childhood system planning grant. Kansas Children's Cabinet and Trust Fund Executive Director Melissa Rooker tells KVOE News Kansas was one of five states chosen by the National Governor's Association for a mentoring grant a year ago. The grant includes the Children's Cabinet, State Department of Education, Department for Children and Families and Department of Health and Environment. The grant also reflects years of research indicating the importance of the birth-to-age-5 time period in how a child grows, develops and matures.

Rooker says the sessions, including the two in Emporia, have had a solid cross-section of different stakeholders involved.

Rooker is not commenting on feedback from the different meetings, either from different cities or collectively, saying she doesn't want to color the conversation as it continues. However, she says the ongoing collaboration has demonstrated "artificial barriers" between agencies because they have their own criteria for handling certain tasks -- and as a result, this has highlighted the need for streamlining certain procedures whenever multiple agencies are involved.

The overall goal, Rooker says, is to get federal funding to help implement the strategic plan once it's finished.



Monday's sessions were attended by officials of several state agencies, as well as representatives of local public and private education, child-centered and other community groups, mental health, public health and Emporia city leadership.

The state has created an online public input survey available through June 24 to gain information, opinions and perspectives from consumers, residents and partners in this effort. Click here for that link. You can also get more information online at www.kdheks.gov/bfh or www.kansasmch.org

Rate this item
(0 votes)
Last modified on Wednesday, 12 June 2019 05:29