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Kansas Restores State Funding for Early Head Start
Financing, Early Head Start, Financing
Source Of Information:
ZERO TO THREE Policy Center state updates
Early childhood advocates scored a victory in Kansas when legislators restored $10.2 million of the $11.3 million funding Kansas Early Head Start (KEHS) with passage of the state’s fiscal year 2012 budget on May 13th. Governor Brownback’s budget proposal called for eliminating all funding for KEHS, reallocating $3.1 million of it to the state’s child-care assistance program and using the rest to help fill an estimated $550 million hole in the fiscal 2012 state budget.
KEHS provides comprehensive services to 1,250 children, from before birth through age three, and their families in 56 of the state’s 105 counties. More than 90 percent of the children enrolled are from families earning less than 100 percent of the federal poverty line, and in some rural areas of Kansas, KEHS is the only program serving young, at-risk children.
In response to the Governor’s proposal, business leaders, early childhood practitioners, parents, and other advocates rallied support for KEHS using a variety of strategies. They held roundtables for editorial boards from newspapers across the state to educate them on the importance of KEHS. These meetings resulted in numerous articles being published in support of restoring funding for the program. They also conducted market analyses showing how the proposed cuts would impact individual communities, including information on the number of children who could lose services and the number of staff who could lose their jobs if state funding was eliminated. Throughout budget negotiations, KEHS supporters continually reached out to their legislators to ensure their message was being heard. Their efforts ensured many at-risk children in Kansas will continue to receive the KEHS services they need.