A publication of Child Care Aware ® of Kansas
Fall 2016 Volume 15, Issue 4
STORY TO AFFECT
IT’S TIME TO
Child Care Aware ®
is a publication of
Child Care Aware ®
Angie Saenger, Deputy Director
Julie Hess Design
On the Cover
Mariner Svaty meets his
puppy Royal at the family
farm near Ellsworth, Kansas.
Parents are Josh and
Child Care Aware ® of Kansas,
1508 East Iron, Salina, Kansas 67401,
publishes Kansas Child quarterly,
and is made possible through the
financial support of the members
of Child Care Aware ® of Kansas and
sponsorships from our corporate,
private, and foundation partners.
Kansas Child is intended to provide
a forum for the discussion of child
care and early education issues and
ideas. We hope to provoke thoughtful
discussions within the field and to
help those outside the field gain a
better understanding of priorities
and concerns. The views expressed
by the authors are not necessarily
those of Child Care Aware ® of Kansas
or their sponsors.
Copyright © 2016 by Child Care
Aware ® of Kansas, unless
otherwise noted. No permission
is required to excerpt or make
copies of articles provided that
they are distributed at no cost.
For other uses, send written
permission requests to:
Child Care Aware ® of Kansas,
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Advocacy is one of those words that we frequently hear but sometimes wonder just
what it means. The Webster online Dictionary defines advocacy as:
1. (noun) the act of pleading for, supporting, or recommending; active
espousal: He was known for his advocacy of states’ rights.
In other words, advocacy is the process used to affect or
influence someone else’s behavior or attitude in order to reach a goal.
Let’s think about that for a minute. How might advocacy apply to
your life? If you are a parent or a caregiver of children, you are more than
likely trying to affect or influence a child’s behavior on a daily basis. If you
are an employer, you are affecting someone’s behavior through workplace
policies, environment and compensation. Advocacy can be that simple.
It involves communication — a level of understanding between people
Although Webster indicates it is a noun, advocacy is
definitely an action word. It can include representing,
listening, helping, guiding, counseling, selling,
mediating, or promoting. To BE an advocate means to take
action, to help, listen or support. You have the power to
create positive change for children; in fact, you are already
doing these things every day. So pause and give yourself
credit for already being an advocate!
Years ago I saw a piece about “Everyday Acts of
Advocacy.” It moved me enough that I wrote down
the salient points. I think they are as relevant today
as they were when I first read them: hug a child; say yes instead of no; listen to become
better informed; teach a parent to appropriately deal with his/her 2-year-old; try to
forgive; work with a parent and child regarding positive communication; respect
others; respect your community; teach a young person how to resolve conflict; go
home from work early to be with your family; participate in PTA/PTO; volunteer to
help others; say no to violence; and finally, be kind and gentle to yourself.
Advocacy is traditionally connected to politicians and lobbyists. Because this is
an election year, candidates might come knocking on your door. They want your vote.
What better time to ask the “if you are elected, how would you vote on children’s issues”
question? Be sure to tell them you vote for candidates who vote for young children!
This issue of Kansas Child is a wonderful partnership between Child Care Aware®
and a great advocacy organization, Kansas Action for Children. Visit their website,
www.kac.org, and sign up for their timely alerts on state issues, or visit our website,
www.ks.childcareaware.org, and sign up for federal policy updates. In other words,
get involved, be informed, be an advocate, TODAY!
If not me, then who?
What do I believe?
What am I waiting for?
IN THIS ISSUE
is an issue of
National Security............ 6
2016 Public Policy........... 8
Issues to Watch 2017...... 11
An Intro to
Advocacy in the
Story to Affect
Advocacy in the
Age of Social Media....... 17
A Winning Issue..............18
We are in this
It’s Time to
Growing up to be
The Defining Issue for Child Advocates in 2016
By Kansas Action for Children
The last year has been an
important one for Kansans who
are committed to making sure all
children receive the best possible
start in life.
For nearly two decades, the
Children’s Initiatives Fund (CIF) has
served as the cornerstone of funding
for Kansas’ early learning system.
It was established in 1999 using
monies garnered by the Tobacco
Master Settlement Agreement
(MSA). Kansas was the only state
in the nation to fully invest tobacco
settlement dollars in the state’s
youngest citizens, recognizing both
the cost avoidance and tremendous
return on investment generated by
early learning. The system has been
enormously successful. Last January,
a statewide audit elevated CIF as
the gold standard for government
accountability and efficiency, with
some programs generating an $11
return for every $1 invested.
Although several administrations
have previously cut or swept funding
from early childhood programs, only
Governor Brownback aggressively
and repeatedly attempted to
completely abolish the CIF.
Only Governor Brownback
aggressively and repeatedly attempted
to completely abolish the CIF.
It was one of the most highprofile
debates of the 2016 legislative
session. Child advocates across
the state pushed back with equal
determination and, thankfully, the
Here’s what happened...
ELIMINATING THE CIF?
When Governor Brownback introduced
his budget in January, he called for the
total elimination of the CIF, moving those
dollars to the State General Fund and
moving the Kansas Children’s Cabinet to
the Kansas State Department of Education.
At the time, his administration claimed
it was an effort to improve coordination
among K-12 and early childhood entities.
In addition to removing statutory
protections for early childhood funding,
shifting tobacco funds into the State
General Fund would have eliminated
critical checks and balances within the
early learning system by undermining
the role of the Kansas Children’s
Cabinet and Trust Fund. The Cabinet
was originally created as a bipartisan,
quasi-governmental agency to ensure
accountable investment in children’s
programs. Its role is essential to the
success of Kansas’ early childhood system.
For these reasons, the Governor’s
proposal received swift and significant
pushback from early childhood
advocates, and it was rejected by
SENATE BILL 463
As soon as the legislature voted
to keep the CIF intact in the
state budget, a new bill surfaced to
eliminate it. Similar to the original
Bill 463 called
elimination of the CIF and the transfer
of its funding source (MSA funds) to the
State General Fund.
The CIF exists specifically to preserve a
stable funding structure for early childhood
programs in future years. Setting aside
MSA funds in the CIF ensures they are
used for their intended purpose. Shifting
those dollars into the State General Fund
would reverse this protection, making all
early childhood programs vulnerable to
budget cuts, and competing with other
investments during a dire fiscal crisis. For
this and other reasons, Senate Bill 463
failed to gain traction.
After the introduction of Senate Bill 463,
the true intent behind efforts to eliminate
the CIF finally came to light. It was
revealed that these repeated efforts had
nothing to do with coordination, efficiency,
or transparency or efforts to benefit
4 Kansaas Child A Publication of Child Care Aware ® of Kansas
and early childhood education in Kansas.
Rather, they were attempts to quietly set
the stage for the administration to sell
the state’s MSA funds to investors for a
lump sum of cash. This process is called
“securitization.” If MSA funds are sold,
some or all of the future payments to the
CIF would be forfeited, and instead, one
immediate lump sum would go the the
State General Fund. Given the state’s fiscal
woes, these funds would likely be depleted
quickly (if not immediately) and all future
revenue for early childhood programs in
Kansas would be at-risk or lost altogether.
In April, after three efforts to dismantle
the CIF were rejected by the legislature,
Kansas received yet another round of
devastating budget news. When another
nearly $300 million shortfall was projected
over the next budget cycle, the state budget
director presented three options for
filling the gaping budget hole. MSA
securitization/dismantling the CIF
was the governor’s top choice.
Yet again, the legislature
resoundingly rejected the
fourth attempt to dismantle
Kansas’ premier system for
early childhood education. The
legislative session adjourned
in May with the CIF intact
and its funding source safe from
securitization, for the time being.
Unfortunately, the fight is not over.
Until the Legislature finally fixes the
source of the budget problem —
unaffordable and unsustainable
— Kansas will continue to operate in a
perpetual state of fiscal crisis, and all of the
state’s most important investments remain
DEATH BY 1,000 CUTS?
Although the CIF survived
securitization in 2016, cuts to children’s
programs are still being implemented at an
alarming rate. In June, the legislature swept
$4 million from the CIF as it cobbled
together a funding package to comply with
a court order to make public education
funding more equitable across the state.
This sweep came on top of a 14 percent
cut to some CIF programs implemented
by Govenor Brownback in May, which
came on the heels of yet another $7 million
sweep during the 2016 legislative session.
Nearly half of the $60 million originally
intended for children’s programs in 2016 is
instead now paying for the state’s perpetual
budget crisis. In total, since 2011 more
than $100 million worth of investments
in the education and health of Kansas’
youngest children has been redirected to
plug a budget hole. Kansas kids did not
create this budget crisis, and they shouldn’t
be forced to pay for it.
With monthly revenues continuing
to fall short, it is likely that even
more CIF cuts could be proposed
in January, slowly draining critical
early childhood programs of the
resources they need to successfully
With monthly revenues continuing to
fall short, it is likely that even more CIF
cuts could be proposed in January, slowly
draining critical early childhood programs
of the resources they need to successfully
BEWARE OF FALSE CHOICES
Several policies eroded the well-being of
Kansas children since 2011, but none more
so than the passage of irresponsible and
unsustainable tax policy in 2012. The saga
behind the governor’s trademark initiative
has been well-documented. Perhaps the
most unfortunate consequence of the
fiscal mess it created, however, is the false
assumption that Kansas must now choose
between its most important investments.
Kansans shouldn’t have to choose
between high-quality child care, or safe
roads, or a school that can afford to stay
open five days a week, or affordable college
tuition, or a retirement they rightfully
earned. Kansans deserve — and need — all
of these things. These are essential, proven
investments, and they all work together to
create prosperity for our entire state.
Education funding will remain a highprofile
debate during the 2017 legislative
session. Most of the dialogue around
education in recent months focused on
providing equal educational opportunities
to school-aged children. Unfortunately, an
equalized school funding formula has a
Continued on page 6
www.ks.childcareaware.org Kansas Child 5
Continued from page 5
significantly diminished impact if our most
at-risk children do not start kindergarten
ready to learn. When policymakers
repeatedly rob lifelines for babies and
toddlers during their most critical years of
life, they all but guarantee those children
will end up on the schoolhouse doorstep too
far behind to get ahead, before they even get
a chance to start.
It makes no sense to sacrifice young
Kansas children for school-age Kansas
children. But instead of fixing the problem,
policymakers have fallen into a pattern
of passing hastily crafted, short-term
fixes that carry devastating, long-term
consequences: a disservice to the children
we are all fighting to protect. If we ever
want to move beyond crisis management
for our kids, we must demand a
thoughtful, long-term solution that holds
all Kansas children harmless — from
diapers to diplomas.
LOOKING TO 2017
Last summer, the Annie E. Casey
Foundation released its annual report on
child well-being. Kansas’ ranking not only
dropped for the first time since 2010, we
experienced the third largest drop in the
country, tumbling from 15th to 19th. Most
significantly, Kansas dropped from 12th
to 20th in the education domain. These
declines directly reflect the policy choices
and budget cuts of the last five years.
If the state’s latest economic trends
are any indication, the tax policy that
created this budget mess shows no sign
of generating the revenue or economic
growth originally promised. It is long
past time to consider proposals to
stabilize the state revenue stream and
stop shortchanging essential programs
for Kansas’ most vulnerable children and
families. In addition to keeping the CIF
structure intact, it will be imperative for
lawmakers to restore funding levels for
the CIF back to the $42 million originally
promised in 2016. This is the best way
to ensure a consistently high return on
investment for Kansas taxpayers and
positive outcomes for Kansas kids.
The state’s premier system for early
learning is not only good for the
state’s bottom line, it is in the best
interest of the Kansas economy.
The state’s premier system for early
learning is not only good for the state’s
bottom line, it is in the best interest of
the Kansas economy. It takes time and
resources to grow a competitive workforce.
Leaders in the private sector understand
the difference between an expense and
an investment. A child’s environments in
the first five years can set the trajectory
for an entire life. The lost return on
investment that could occur if the CIF were
eliminated would have a more damaging
long-term impact on the Kansas economy
than reducing the short-term expense of
programs for children and families.
To learn how you can join the fight to
protect investments in Kansas’ youngest
citizens, visit www.kac.org/savetheCIF. <
6 Kansas Child A Publication of Child Care Aware ® of Kansas
is an issue of
By Brigadier General (Ret.) William A. “Art”
Bloomer, U.S. Marine Corps
Many readers of this magazine might
be wondering why a retired general would
contribute a column to a publication for
child care providers.
The reason is simple: Investing in
children from an early age is vitally
important for our future national security.
Consider these statistics: 71 percent of
young people in Kansas between the ages
of 17 and 24 are not qualified to serve in
the military, primarily because they are
poorly educated, physically unfit, or have a
record of crime or drug abuse. In Kansas,
14 percent of high school students do
not graduate on time, and it is
difficult to join the military
without a high school
among high school graduates in our state,
21 percent of those seeking to enlist cannot
do so because they don’t score high enough
on the military’s exam for math, literacy
Investing in children from an
early age is vitally important for
our future national security.
This alarming situation convinced me to
join Mission: Readiness, the nonpartisan
national security organization of more
than 600 retired admirals and generals. We
support smart investments in America’s
children to help ensure that our nation’s
youth are citizen-ready — ready to succeed
academically, stay physically fit, and abide
by the law so they can enter the workforce
with multiple options, including a career
in the military.
Research shows that high-quality early
childhood education is
one of the best
investments we can make, and it can
help address the primary disqualifiers for
military service. Quality preschool can
prepare children to start school ready to
learn. It can improve student performance,
boost graduation rates, deter youth from
crime, and even reduce obesity rates by
instilling healthy eating and exercise
habits that contribute to a lifelong culture
of health. The effect of early education
on math skills is particularly important
given the increasing importance of math
and technology across many professions,
including military service.
Despite these benefits, during the past
legislative session, Kansas legislators
several times considered getting rid of
Kansas’ primary infrastructure for early
childhood. Governor Brownback and
other decision-makers pushed to eliminate
the Children’s Initiatives Fund (CIF),
which is dedicated to the expansion and
improvement of quality early learning.
This funding is particularly important
because many Kansas families cannot
afford private preschool, which costs
nearly $8,000 a year, according to Child
Care Aware of Kansas.
Thankfully, a number of stakeholders
were able to convince legislators to protect
As Kansas lawmakers continue
to navigate difficult fiscal times,
it is critical that we continue to
stand strong to safeguard the
CIF. Quality early education
is critical to young
success and to the security
of our nation. <
www.ks.childcareaware.org Kansas Child 7
As the largest funder of
early childhood programs,
state and local work
to improve the lives of
children, especially those in
poverty. Funding provided
by Congress enables
low-income families to
access high-quality early
childhood education and
child care that improves
the education, health, and
economic outcomes of our
As early childhood
advocates, we need to let
members of Congress know
how states and communities
depend on these resources
to invest in our children.
Studies show that:
The earliest years
are critical for brain
development and lay the
foundation for cognitive
ability and school success.
care and early education
programs make a difference
for all children, but have the
biggest effect on low-income children.
Policy Group, LLC
Grace Reef is the founder of the
Early Learning Policy Group, LLC, a
Washington, D.C., based government
relations group. A veteran political
and policy strategist, Grace worked
for 17 years in the U.S. Senate as a
senior policy advisor on issues related
to families with children for Senators
George Mitchell, Tom Daschle and
Chris Dodd. Off Capitol Hill, Grace
was the Chief of Policy & Evaluation
for seven years at the National
Association of Child Care Resource
& Referral Agencies (NACCRRA),
currently doing business as Child
Care Aware ® of America.
The Early Learning Policy Group
focuses on strengthening the quality
of child care at the federal and
state level through policy analysis,
strategic thinking and partnership
building, effective communication and
advocacy approaches, and pursuing
alternative financing approaches to
support early childhood initiatives.
Vocabulary for a child at age 3 is directly related to reading test
scores for that child in grade 3. At age 3, low-income children know
30 million fewer words than their peers in higher income brackets.
School readiness matters. Children who start school ready to
learn are much more likely to perform at grade level and graduate
career-ready from high school and college.
Access to high-quality early care and education programs
supports parents so that they can work. It’s also an investment in
our children so that they start school ready to learn.
When negotiating the budget this fall, it’s critical that members of
Congress know that investing in early care and education programs
Child Care and Development Block Grant
In November of 2014, the Child Care and Development Block
Grant (CCDBG) Act was reauthorized with bipartisan support,
for the first time in 18 years. CCDBG subsidies help lowincome
families afford child care so that parents can work and
children can be in a safe setting that promotes their healthy
The CCDBG Act of 2014 included reforms aimed at improving
the health and safety of child care programs, promoting family
involvement, improving training for the child care workers,
enhancing continuity of care, and increasing the number and
percentage of children from low-income families in high-quality
Given that champions in both political parties came together
to support the reauthorization of CCDBG, bipartisan support
for federal funding to help implement the reforms is equally
important. Without sufficient resources to implement the new
law, fewer children will be served as states stretch to do more
without the necessary resources.
It’s time to encourage Congress to significantly increase funding
for CCDBG above the levels included in both the FY 2017 House
and Senate Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations bills.
The House bill increased funding by $40 million and the Senate
bill increased funding by $25 million.
While that sounds like a lot of money, the Congressional Budget
Office estimates that meeting the new reforms will cost much
more than that. An increase of $1.2 billion above the funding
level provided for CCDBG in FY 2016 will help states implement
the quality improvements put forth in the Act, leading to better
outcomes for children from low-income families.
States are struggling with the cost of implementing the critically
important reforms included in CCDBG reauthorization. Funding
at this higher level will enable states to provide children and
families access to high-quality child care without reducing the
number of children who can be served or reducing payments to
providers. In most states, those payments already are too low.
The reforms Congress passed into law hold great promise. But,
there is concern that without a significant increase in funding the
goals of CCDBG, reauthorization will go unfulfilled, and working
parents will find it even more challenging to obtain the help they
need to pay for child care so that they can work to support their
8 Kansas Child A Publication of Child Care Aware ® of Kansas
Head Start and Early Head Start
Head Start and Early Head Start deliver comprehensive early
learning, health, nutrition and family support services to lowincome
expectant families and children from birth to age 5.
Since 1965, Head Start has served more than 32 million children
and families. While it continues to serve more than a million
children every year, the need still far outweighs the supply.
As of 2013, only 42 percent of eligible 3- and 4-year-olds
participated in Head Start, and only 4 percent of eligible infants
and toddlers participated in Early Head Start. In Kansas, only 11
percent of children participating in Head Start are enrolled in
full-day programs. Yet, research shows that full-day programs
have a far greater effect than half-day programs with regard to
the gains children make. On average, children in Head Start are
in programs for only 3.5 hours a day. That doesn’t help parents
who are working, and it’s not enough learning time. Increased
investments in Head Start are critical to ensure that more
children can participate for a full day.
In August, the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services proposed a comprehensive revision of the Head Start
Performance Standards to improve the quality of Head Start
services; streamline and reorganize program requirements to
make it easier to operate a high-quality Head Start program;
and increase the percentage of children in full-day
programs. In order to implement these revised
performance standards, including increasing the
number of children in full-day Head Start, a
significant increase in funding is needed.
Specifically, funding for Head Start needs
to exceed the $141 million increase
included in the FY 2017 House and Senate
committee-approved appropriation bills. While
this increase represents a first, it falls short of
expanding access to full-day programs.
An increase of $434 million will help implement Head
Start Performance Standards in the coming year and support
quality improvements in programs, such as full-day services.
Additionally, it is important to support increases above
the current funding level for Early Head Start-Child Care
Partnerships. Those partnerships are designed to strengthen the
quality of child care to meet Head Start standards so that more
low-income children will have access to high-quality care.
Preschool Development Grants
The recent enactment of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)
highlights the growing momentum toward bringing states,
school districts, and community-based partners together to
better integrate early learning with K-12 education. Specifically,
ESSA recognizes the importance of a continuum of learning
that provides a connection between early learning and K-12
education. This starts with investing in early childhood
ESSA authorizes a new Preschool Development Grants (PDG)
program within the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services (HHS). The new PDGs will help support access to highquality
preschool opportunities for children, while emphasizing
coordination and expansion of early learning services.
The current PDG grantees are working in more than 200
communities in 18 states to expand access to high-quality
preschool opportunities. Congress authorized $250 million
in both the FY 2017 House and Senate bills for PDGs, which
represents a freeze in funding. Additional funds are needed
so that states can expand pre-Kindergarten programs to serve
of eligible 3- and 4-year-olds
participated in Head Start
of eligible infants and toddlers
participated in Early Head Start
of children participating in Head Start
are enrolled in full-day programs
is an economic development strategy — one that helps parents
work, which supports state and local economies and helps children
learn. In other words, school readiness and school success are
directly related to our economy and should be funded. Congress
will be negotiating funding for programs for the 2017 fiscal year,
which begins Oct. 1.
At this point, the FY 2017 Labor, Health and Human Services,
and Education Appropriations bill — approved by the House and
Continued on page 10
www.ks.childcareaware.org Kansas Child 9
Senate appropriations committees — provides a modest increase
for early childhood programs, but it’s not enough to avoid cutting
the number of children who receive assistance.
We strongly support robust and comprehensive
early childhood investments that include the Preschool
Development Grants, IDEA Grants for Infants and Families
and IDEA Preschool Grants. We also need to pay particular
attention to the urgent and unmet needs of children receiving
assistance through the Child Care and Development Block
Grant (CCDBG), Head Start and Early Head Start.
We must ensure that every child in this country, especially
those from low-income families, has access to high-quality early
childhood education and child care opportunities to prepare them
to develop the skills needed to enter kindergarten ready to learn
and succeed in life.
Below is a list of early childhood programs, funding approved
by the House and Senate appropriations committees for FY 2016,
and the funding that is needed to ensure that children are not cut
What Can You Do?
Educate your congressional representatives. If you are not sure
who your representatives are or do not have their phone numbers
or emails, you can locate them here: http://bit.ly/2bkoP5T.
Tell them that early childhood programs matter.
Tell them that school readiness and school success depend on
access to high-quality early learning programs.
Together, we can make a difference! <
Key Early Learning and Family Funding
FY 2017 Labor, HHS & Education Appropriations (Dollars in Millions)
Child Care and
$2,786 $25 $2,801 $40 $1,200
Head Start $9,200 $34 $9,309 $143 $434
Early Head Start & EHS/
Child Care Partnerships
$635 FREEZE $645 $10 $150
$250 FREEZE $250 FREEZE $100
Senate FY2017 Labor, HHS, & Education Appropriations bill approved by the Appropriations Committee on June 7, 2016.
Senate Committee Report: https://www.congress.gov/114/crpt/srpt274/CRPT-114srpt274.pdf
House FY2017 Labor, HHS & Education Appropriations bill approved by the Appropriations Committee on July 14, 2016
House Committee Report: http://appropriations.house.gov/uploadedfiles/hrpt-114-hr-fy2017-laborhhsed.pdf
10 Kansas Child A Publication of Child Care Aware ® of Kansas
Issues to Watch
By Kansas Action for Children
As we look ahead to the 2017 legislative session, it is clear that the
decisions policymakers will make next year will have big consequences for
Kansas children. Here are some of the issues that organizations such as Child
Care Aware® of Kansas and Kansas Action for Children will watch as we work
together to make Kansas the best state in the nation to raise a child:
Early Childhood Funding
In 1999, Kansas legislators made a
commitment to our state’s future prosperity
by establishing the Children’s Initiatives Fund
(CIF) and the Kansas Endowment for Youth
(KEY) Fund using monies garnered by the
Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement. Kansas
was the only state in the nation to invest tobacco
settlement monies in this way, recognizing both the cost avoidance
and tremendous return on investment generated by early learning.
It was part of a larger vision to provide early learning opportunities
for future generations of Kansans.
In 2016, after swift and significant pushback from child advocates
such as you, the Legislature resoundingly rejected proposals to
dismantle Kansas’ premier system for early childhood education.
However, children’s programs still faced funding cuts due to the
state’s ongoing budget crisis. We expect that budget pressures will
continue to threaten the CIF in 2017. We will depend on advocates
from across the state to protect programs that ensure all Kansas
children receive the best possible start in life – no matter what.
Budget & Tax Policy
In recent months, you’ve probably seen
a news story or two about Kansas’
unprecedented budget problems. The
state’s fiscal health began to weaken in 2012
when policymakers set Kansas on a path to
eliminate the state income tax. Radical changes
to the state tax code in 2012 and 2013 mean the state now doesn’t
have the resources it needs to function day-to-day, let alone make
investments necessary to flourish in the future.
Even after the Legislature raised the state sales tax in 2013 and 2015
and eliminated important credits for working families, such as the
child and dependent care credit, Kansas still struggles to balance
its budget. The state has endured nine rounds of budget cuts in
four years, with no end in sight to the deficit. In fact, the situation is
actually becoming more serious. In addition to repeatedly missing
monthly revenue targets, Kansas’ statewide credit rating was
downgraded last summer for a third time in two years.
A shift in the makeup of the Kansas Legislature in the August and
November elections might create the political will necessary to
reform the state’s tax policy, allowing Kansas to protect the state’s
most important assets — including investments in our children.
Child advocacy organizations are eager to both support and actively
lobby for common sense tax reform in 2017.
Child Care Regulations
Changes to the federal Child Care and
Development Block Grant (CCDBG) present
the opportunity for Kansas to re-examine
and improve its child care system. The Child
Care and Development Fund (CCDF) is a major
source of federal funding for child care assistance
and other critical pieces of the Kansas child care system, such
as the statewide resource and referral system and initiatives that
improve child care quality.
Early childhood stakeholders will be able to shape the future of
child care in the state in several ways. The Kansas Department of
Health and Environment (KDHE) will seek public comment and
update regulations for child care providers to comply with the new
federal law. The Kansas Department for Children and Families
(DCF) will launch a pilot program as it works to develop a statewide
Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS). While all this
is happening, the Kansas Legislature will update Kansas law as
necessary. Each of these changes gives advocates for early learning
the chance to build the best Kansas child care system possible.
www.ks.childcareaware.org Kansas Child 11
An intro to Advocacy in
Adapted from “Intro to Advocacy” by Kansas Action for Children
Advocacy is the foundation of our democracy. It is an attempt to influence public policy in a way that brings
about legislative action or change.
It is up to us to speak on behalf of Kansas children. State legislators look to constituents who can bring
important information to their attention and let them know how their constituents want to be represented.
When you are passionate about an issue and ready to take action, it is important to understand the legislative
process. Additionally, you should be strategic in the relationships you develop and the tools you utilize to
effectively communicate your position or cause.
The Kansas Legislature: Who Represents You?
The Kansas Legislature consists of two chambers — the House of Representatives
(125 members) and the Senate (40 members). Each Kansan is represented by one
member in each chamber. This system of checks and balances is purposefully
complex to ensure that all proposed legislation receives thorough consideration
To make a difference when legislators are considering issues that impact Kansas
children, you need to know what’s happening during the legislative session in
Topeka. Here are some resources to help you stay informed:
Kansas Legislative Website | www.kslegislature.org
The Legislature’s website features calendars and journals that summarize daily
activities. You can also download bills and find a complete listing of legislators with
office phone numbers and email addresses.
Legislative Hotline | 1-800-432-3924 (in state), 785-296-2149 (out of state)
The Kansas State Library operates the Legislative Hotline all year long to provide bill
numbers, bill status, and a way for constituents to contact their legislators.
before being implemented. It is not unusual for a piece
of legislation to take multiple years to pass.
Tip: You can visit www.openstates.org to look up who
represents you in the Kansas Legislature.
Kansas Action for Children | www.kac.org/sign-up
Sign up to receive our action alerts to contact your
legislator, monthly e-newsletter, or our “Capitol
Connection,” which is emailed weekly during the
Twitter | www.twitter.com/#ksleg
Many reporters, legislators, and advocates tweet
updates in real time during the legislative session.
Following along is easy – you can visit www.
twitter.com and search
“#ksleg,” even if you
don’t want to create a
12 Kansas Child
the Kansas Statehouse
Kansas has a part-time legislature, which means our citizenlegislators
spend 90 days working in Topeka in what is called
the legislative session. The session begins in January and
typically ends in early May. Following completion of the session, legislators return
to their hometowns and day jobs until the following year, returning only for interim
committees between sessions. By having a part-time legislature, lawmakers are able
to stay connected with their local communities and constituents.
Your Voice Matters
At every step of the legislative process, advocates have
the opportunity to influence public policy. Cultivating a
relationship with your elected officials year-round builds a
good foundation for your efforts to achieve real results for
Kansas children. When you reach out to your legislators,
keep two things in mind: any communication is better
than none at all, and putting a personal face on an issue is
It is critical to follow up with your legislators after
making a specific request,
because it increases their
accountability and lets them
know you are monitoring
Meeting: If you would like to set up a personal meeting at the Statehouse, be
understanding of their changing schedules and respectful of your legislator’s time.
Ask a specific question: “Will you vote for House Bill 1000?” instead of “Will you
support kids this year?”
Correspondence: Remember to keep your comments short, simple, and to the point.
Include these five elements:
Your full name and address
Brief background about the issue (with a bill number, if it is available)
Story of personal or community impact
Other supporting arguments
A specific request
the issue. If legislators did not support you after saying they would, send a message
saying you are disappointed in their lack of support (politely, of course). If the
legislator did support your issue, say thank you.
Together, we can shape public policy that improves the lives of Kansas children.
For a more in-depth guide to the Kansas legislative process, download our Intro to
Advocacy at http://kac.org/take-action/toolkit/.
Kansas Child 13
put a face on the
facts, lawmakers see
This should give us all
hope and motivation to
stay engaged in 2017...
14 Kansas Child
Telling Your Story
to Affect Policy Change
By Kansas Action for Children
Putting A Face on the Facts: Lexie’s Law
Less than a decade ago, Kansas ranked 46th in the country
for child care oversight. Before 2010, this resulted in 30
heartbreaking child deaths over a three-year period, including
18-month-old Ava Patrick and 13-month-old Lexie Engelman.
Out of their losses, the parents of Ava and Lexie—Alecia
and Steve Patrick and Kim and Bryan Engelman—committed
themselves to improving child care safety in Kansas so other
families would be spared the same tragedy. Together with other
child advocacy organizations and key legislative champions,
they set about passing Lexie’s Law, landmark legislation
that for the first time in more than 30 years overhauled and
strengthened Kansas child care.
Lexie’s Law propelled Kansas to one of the nation’s leaders in
child care safety. Within two years of its passage, Kansas laws to
promote child health and safety catapulted the state from 46th
to third place in a report by the National Association of Child
Care Resource & Referral Agencies.
Too often in policymaking, ill-conceived laws result in
unintended consequences. Lexie’s Law, on the other hand,
resulted in a refreshing dose of unintended benefits. Five years
after its implementation, Kansas now serves as a model for
child care safety.
Why Stories Matter
The passage of Lexie’s Law made national news, but it
wasn’t an easy journey. In fact, the bill passed in the
wee hours of the morning on the final day of the 2010
legislative session with the minimum number of votes
it needed to go to the governor’s desk.
Legislation to overhaul any industry typically takes
years to usher through the process. It takes time
to educate policymakers, convince committee
chairs to hold hearings, to find compromise and
iron out sticking points, and to get a bill to a full
chamber for a vote (let alone two chambers).
So how did Lexie’s Law pass in just one year?
The Kansas Legislature is what we call a “citizen legislature.”
That means state lawmakers work only part time. Unless they’re
retired, they juggle full-time jobs (plus their own family and
community obligations) in addition to their public service.
Legislators cast hundreds of votes during the annual 90-day
session. Some days —
especially at the end
of the session —
they might vote
of pieces of
a single day.
They rely on
to inform them on
issues where they lack
policy is data-driven.
should always indicate a
clear need for changes in
statute. However, data alone
rarely motivates lawmakers to
act quickly. Personal stories are what
capture hearts, minds, and votes. When lawmakers put a face on
a fact, they are more likely to understand the human implications
of a bill and more likely to take action.
In the example of Lexie’s Law, advocates successfully merged
compelling data about Kansas’ failing child care safety system
with powerful stories from those who endured unspeakable
Continued on page 16
www.ks.childcareaware.org Kansas Child 15
Alecia and Steve Patrick
The Engelmans and the Patricks
shared their stories in a way
that compelled legislators to
ask themselves: what if this had
happened to my family?
Kim and Bryan Engleman
Continued from page 15
grief as a result of the status quo. The Engelmans and the
Patricks shared their stories in a way that compelled legislators
to ask themselves: what if this had happened to my family? As
a result, this sweeping legislation was signed into law just four
months after it was introduced.
Why You Should Tell Your Story in 2017
Unfortunately, Kansas faces yet another tough budget year
in 2017. The state’s credit rating was recently downgraded for
the third time, monthly revenues have continued to drop, and
projections for the near future are not promising.
In 2016, dismantling the state’s premier system for early
childhood education topped Governor Brownback’s list of
options to temporarily fill the state’s budget gap. Although
advocates were able to ward off these efforts, new attempts to cut
investments in Kansas kids are anticipated in 2017.
Data are already on the side of child advocates. We know early
childhood education enjoys wide bipartisan support among
Kansans. We know research proves that investing early saves
the state money down the road. And we know every Kansas
family needs access to safe, affordable child care at one point or
another. But data alone probably won’t ensure the preservation
of early childhood investments in Kansas. As the state’s fiscal
woes worsen, personal stories from real Kansans about why
high-quality child care matters will be the difference between
victory and defeat.
How To Tell A Compelling Story
Make it personal. Paint a picture of who you are. Are you a
child care provider? Talk about your facility and the role it plays
in your community. What is your program is like? Why did you
decide to become a child care provider? If you’re a parent who
benefits from access to high-quality child care, tell us about
your children. What are their personalities? What are their
your life be like
for your family if you
didn’t have access to high-quality child care?
Balance needs with achievements. It can be tempting to focus
on the challenges you’re facing as you attempt to demonstrate
the need for funding. But policymakers also need to see that
expanding access to high-quality child care makes a difference.
Pair the need for continued investment with the successes you’ve
achieved as a result of that investment. Give examples of how
high-quality early care has helped your child or the families you
serve, in addition to describing the consequences that would
follow if it were not available.
Make a specific ask. State what you’re asking the
policymaker to do. Describe what action or position you want
him/her to take. This should be specific and refer to a bill or a
program (such as preserving the Children’s Initiatives Fund or
expanding access to child care assistance). Also, don’t forget
to address the public good. Describe how your request will
benefit your family or your business, but also how it helps your
community and our state.
Be sure to say, “Thank you.”
Share Your Story Today
Over and over, personal storytelling and advocacy have pushed
a commonsense piece of legislation over the finish line, or
brought damaging policy to a screeching halt. When advocates
put a face on the facts, lawmakers see legislation differently. This
should give us all hope and motivation to stay engaged in 2017,
knowing that our voices can make a difference in the lives of kids
who would otherwise be voiceless at the State Capitol.
Kansas Action for Children is currently collecting stories from
parents and child care providers for use in the next legislative
session. If you’re interested in sharing your story, please e-mail
16 Kansas Child A Publication of Child Care Aware ® of Kansas
Advocacy in the Age of Social Media: How It Works
By Kansas Action for Children
In 2004, in an effort to connect
college students using a digital
network, a Harvard student
launched a little website called
Facebook. Two years later, another
undergraduate student at New
York University launched a microblogging
site we now know as
Twitter. We didn’t realize it at the
time, but these launches marked the
birth of the social media era. Our
lives would never be the same. More
than a decade later, these networks
comprise more than 1.7 billion
and over 300 million members,
respectively. They have become
our primary source of information,
conversation and — yes — advocacy.
Unlike traditional forms of
communication and advocacy, the
rules and best practices of social
media constantly evolve. This is,
in part, because each platform
undergoes ongoing updates,
resulting in both new opportunities
for innovation and new limitations.
New forms of social media are
gaining traction every day, from
Snapchat to Instagram to LinkedIn.
As more social media sites achieve
popularity, the demographics and
effectiveness of each platform shifts
Despite its constant evolution,
social media can be one of the
most effective advocacy tools for
individuals and organizations.
Many voices are stronger than
one, and social media is the
easiest way to get others to stand
behind and share your message.
From public engagement to issue
awareness, social media provides
a pathway to successful advocacy
work. And because it is an ongoing
conversation, social media creates
an opportunity to influence
stakeholders within and across
Kansas communities, including
Although there are a variety of
popular social media networks,
Facebook and Twitter remain the
most common. These networks are
useful for advocacy because they
make it simple to connect friends,
stakeholders, and constituents to an
issue, and they are the fastest way
to disseminate information among
When using social media for
advocacy, it is important to create
a strategy. The first step in a digital
advocacy strategy is to establish your
goal. Whether it’s narrow or broad,
setting the objective is a crucial
step. The second step is to identify
your audience. Depending on the
desired outcome, your message to
individuals or groups will differ.
Consider whom you are reaching
out to and how can you get them
invested in your issue. Step three:
define your message and tell a story.
What is the problem and what are
the solutions? The reach of your
advocacy work will be more robust
with an effective social media
Social media quick tips:
Follow legislators, media, and
community leaders on Facebook and
Twitter to stay informed.
Use images — such as photos,
charts, and infographics — to
maximize user engagement.
When it comes to Facebook, keep it
short and simple.
On Twitter, use hash tags such as
#ksleg to join the conversation.
Post regularly and frequently to stay
engaged with your audience.
Just a little bit of creativity,
consistency, and careful planning
can tremendously expand your
message and engagement, adding
your valuable voice to a statewide
A Winning Issue
By Kansas Action for Children
In an otherwise polarized election,
voters can agree on at least one thing.
According to a poll released by the First
Five Years Fund (FFYF), 90 percent of
voters — including 78 percent of Donald
Trump supporters and 97 percent of
supporters — agree
and the next
affordable to lowand
that by a three-to-one
margin voters prefer
the next president be
someone who focuses
on solutions to the
country’s problems, and
they’ve identified investment
in early childhood education
as an important solution. Key
voter groups want the federal
government to help states and local
communities improve access to quality,
early childhood education — this includes
85 percent of Hispanics, 79 percent
of suburban women, 65 percent of
moderate/liberal Republicans, and
58 percent of Republican
Early childhood education isn’t a
partisan issue, and this poll demonstrates
that Americans of all political stripes are
united in their demands to make it more
accessible and affordable. Candidates
looking to connect with voters should be
hearing loud and clear that Americans see
a need for quality early learning, ranking
it a top priority alongside education and
More than two-thirds of poll
respondents believe children do not start
kindergarten with the knowledge and
skills they need, driven in part by a lack of
affordable and successful early childhood
education programs. Americans also want
to rethink our education priorities, with
the majority calling for more or equal
investment in early education over college.
This poll gives Washington leaders a
definitive mandate to ensure that every
child has a strong start in life. We now
need to provide communities with the
resources to make high-quality programs
affordable and accessible at a state and
Although the poll was conducted
nationally, its findings absolutely reflect
what is happening in Kansas. Just last
January, a statewide audit elevated the
Children’s Initiatives Fund — Kansas’
foundation for early learning — as the
gold standard for government efficiency,
accountability, and return on investment.
In fact, the audit confirmed that some CIF
programs generate an $11 return for every
In 2016, state lawmakers on both
sides of the aisle resoundingly rejected
18 Kansas Child A Publication of Child Care Aware ® of Kansas
three efforts to dismantle Kansas’ early
childhood infrastructure amid a difficult
budget shortfall. It’s an investment worth
protecting at every level of government.
Additional highlights from the poll:
Voters want America’s leaders to
prioritize early education: 72 percent
say that ages 1 to 5 are the most
important for learning.
A majority of Republicans,
Democrats, and Independents want
to invest in multiple education
opportunities, including homevisiting,
early learning programs, and
Early childhood education is a
bipartisan issue. In fact, key swing
state voters across the country
support making investments in early
The poll was commissioned by the
First Five Years Fund in conjunction
with a bipartisan polling team of
Public Opinion Strategies (R) and Hart
Research (D). The sample was distributed
proportionately throughout the country
and is demographically representative of
the electorate. <
About the First Five Years Fund: The First Five
Years Fund helps America achieve better results
in education, health and economic productivity
through investments in quality, early childhood
education programs for disadvantaged children.
FFYF provides knowledge, data, and advocacy
— persuading federal policymakers to make
investments in the first five years of a child’s life
to create greater returns for all. Learn more at
www.ks.childcareaware.org Kansas Child 19
We are in this
By Dr. Craig Correll,
School District 445
The Dr. Jerry Hamm
Early Learning Center
held its “official” ribbon
cutting ceremony on
August 1 — a huge
milestone for the children of Coffeyville.
While the ribbon cutting signifies a new
era in quality, early education, it is really
the latest iteration of the center. The
blended model currently in operation
began eight years ago as a collaboration
between four partners.
After a devastating flood in 2007
destroyed more than 400 homes and
many businesses, several committees were
formed to determine how Coffeyville
could rebuild. One major roadblock,
according to local businesses, was the
lack of quality child care, which quickly
prompted a community-wide discussion
about quality early education. Leaders
from the school district and other entities
decided that we all would need to work
had two, half-day
Pre-K rooms, as did
Head Start. Tri-County
Special Education also
operated a classroom for Pre-K
Our goal from the beginning was to
provide high-quality, universal preschool
for all students in Coffeyville. With a grant
provided by the Kansas Children’s Cabinet
and Trust Fund and additional resources,
we remodeled a former elementary school
into the Dr. Jerry Hamm Early Learning
Center. The center consisted of six, halfday
rooms and two, full-day classrooms,
all of which were blended with students
from each entity.
While we achieved what we originally
set out to accomplish, we knew we
were not finished. The need for full-day
classrooms was growing, as was the need
to create before- and after-school
care programs, which would
aid working parents.
20 Kansas Child A Publication of Child Care Aware ® of Kansas
classrooms were needed, as well as a
method to fund the before- and afterschool
After many meetings with local
community leaders, we decided to form a
nonprofit organization. This would enable
us to apply for tax credits and create a new
coalition of local businesses. Rather than
looking to a bond campaign through the
local school district, the group decided to
attempt to raise the needed funds locally
from private sources. Barry Downing,
of the Wichita TOPs centers, assisted us
along the way.
Through the generosity of local
donors, the coalition was able to raise
$2.1 million to build the addition to the
center. In order to be eligible for child
care subsidies, the building was licensed
through the Kansas Department of
Health and Environment.
The importance of early childhood
education cannot be overstated. Students
who attend a high-quality early learning
program are more than 30 percent less
likely to require special education and
more than 30 percent more likely to
graduate high school. They also show
much greater self-regulation, problemsolving
and self-awareness skills. Research
also shows these students are 72 percent
less likely to be arrested for drug offenses
in their lifetimes and 20 percent more
likely to be employed.
In a highpoverty
area such as
could be the
kindergarten more prepared. A secondary,
unintended benefit has been the rallying
of the community to be a part of the
solution. I truly believe that a school can
only be as great as its community, and that
a community can only be as great as its
schools. We are all in this together. <
www.ks.childcareaware.org Kansas Child 21
It’s Time to Get Involved
Former State Senator
Terrie Huntington, retired state senator,
District 7, has been a member of the
Kansas Children’s Cabinet since 2010,
serves on the board of Kansas Action
for Children, and was an Early Learning
Fellow for the National Conference of
“If you have a plan, we want to hear it. Tell
your community leaders, your local officials,
your governor, … Believe me, your ideas count.
An individual can make a difference.”
Former President George Herbert Walker Bush
Dwight D. Eisenhower stated, “Politics ought to be the parttime
profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and
privileges of free men.”
Primary elections in Kansas often set the stage for the general
elections, and the 2016 primary elections were no exception.
With 125 House seats and 40 Senate seats in play, postcards filled
our mailboxes, and television ads ran day and night asking us
to believe the best or worst of a particular candidate. Political
forums were held in community centers from Colby to Overland
Park and from Wichita to Concordia, and candidates knocked on
doors for two months.
Campaigning has not changed much in the past 100 years —
candidates want to talk to as many voters as possible, and new
technology and media coverage have made that easier. Twitter,
Facebook and the ever-dreaded robo-calls seek to persuade. It’s
incumbent upon every eligible voter to study the issues, read
position statements, and fact-check information to learn the
truth about candidates and their platforms.
Because Kansas has a citizen legislature, candidates come
from many professions — farmer, doctor, community
volunteer, retiree, lawyer, and often a new college graduate.
While they might be familiar with a few of the important
issues affecting their districts, candidates need input from
advocacy groups to assess problems, formulate solutions,
and change policy.
The No. 1 issue this election season
is the Kansas budget: K-12 classroom
funding; a $17 million cut to higher
education; decreased funding for the
disabled; cuts to children’s programs;
cuts to safety net clinics and hospital
closures; cuts to infrastructure projects, due
to transferring money from the Department
of Transportation to the State General Fund;
Standard & Poor’s downgrading of our state
bond ratings, which makes money more expensive
to borrow; deferred payments to KPERS (pension fund
for teachers and some other public employees); and decreased
access to TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families)
dollars, leading to an increase in Kansans living in poverty.
When the Kansas Legislature convenes in January of 2017,
legislators will have to address a new education funding
formula and declining revenues that have led to budget cuts
that affect all of us, especially our children.
Legislators will need constituent information to help find
solutions to these daunting initiatives. Voting in the general
election in November should not be our final democratic
responsibility. We need to continue to study the issues,
contact our senators and representatives, attend their forums
during the legislative session, provide expert testimony in
committee hearings when asked, and seek information from
non-partisan organizations that serve both parties. Get
involved and stay involved! <
to Be Competent,
By Alice Eberhart-Wright, Child Development Specialist and Family Therapist
Part of a parent’s responsibility is to guide their babies and toddlers to
achieve developmental milestones. Sometimes they need a little help. I’m
fascinated by the array of board books that might
help with the job and are fun for both caregivers
“Pacifiers Are Not Forever,” by Elizabeth Verdick
and illustrated by Marieka Heinlen, is an appealing
book for toddlers that also includes advice for
parents and caregivers. The story illustrates what a
hard task it is to wean a child from the pacifier and
offers comfort instead of punishment when dealing with screaming children.
I love the fact that the illustrations show different skin colors as well as both
female and male caregivers. Binky? Nuk? Passy? Give it up!
“No More Diapers for Ducky!” is another board book. Authors Bernette
Ford and Sam Williams make both young and old readers chuckle and fall in love
with the little ducky in the furry diaper. When the diaper gets cold and wet, Ducky
pulls off the diaper, gives it a kick, and uses the potty the way friend Piggy does.
Piggy wears green-and-yellow-striped boxer shorts and has great toys. The two
friends have fun playing together.
For children in families that might have one or more new moms and dads, there
is “My New Mom and Me,” by Renata Galindo. Galindo uses a parent cat and a
puppy child to graphically illustrate how different life can be and adjustments that
might need to be made when children are separated from familiar homes.
Feelings of sadness, fear, and anxiety as well as feeling happy are dealt with
in a very simple story with few words.
As I think of my experiences with families, I remember the confused
and hurt looks of children whose families were not represented in stories.
Old story books almost exclusively featured nuclear families with a male
father and female mother, parents from the same ethnic group, and “forever
families.” Choose books that help children understand that their family
counts, including step-parents, foster parents, mixed-race families and
single parent families. These stories help all of us understand that there are
many kinds of good families.
Finally, I found “Noni Speaks Up,” by prize-winning Canadian author
Heather Hartt-Sussman and illustrated by Genevieve Cote. This book
would be great for conversations with children from ages 5-8 who are mature
enough to understand bullying, and who have the courage to act apart from their peers.
Noni gives money back to people when they drop it, opens doors for others, and loves it
when everyone likes her. She is old enough to be in situations where friends can say things
that hurt, or tease about clothes or actions. In this story, Noni decides to stand up for a
child who looks different and has become a scapegoat. She sacrifices friends for this child.
There are other books about Noni, and though I have not yet read them, this author
appears to be worth following as she deals with the challenges children must conquer to
become the kind of leaders our society needs. <
www.ks.childcareaware.org Kansas Child 23
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STORY TO AFFECT
IT’S TIME TO