2016 Fall Kansas Child

ccaks2018

Kansas Action for Children

A publication of Child Care Aware ® of Kansas

Fall 2016 Volume 15, Issue 4

KANSAS ACTION

FOR CHILDREN

4 #SaveTheCIF

TELLING YOUR

STORY TO AFFECT

15POLICY CHANGE

IT’S TIME TO

22GET INVOLVED


LEADELL EDIGER

Child Care Aware ®

of Kansas

Kansas Child

is a publication of

Child Care Aware ®

of Kansas

Executive Director

Leadell Ediger

Editors

BWearing Consulting

Angie Saenger, Deputy Director

Publication Design

Julie Hess Design

On the Cover

Mariner Svaty meets his

puppy Royal at the family

farm near Ellsworth, Kansas.

Parents are Josh and

Kimberly Svaty.

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,

1508 East Iron, Salina, KS 67401

Kansas Child is distributed at

no cost to Child Care Aware ®

of Kansas donors. Single

copies are available

to anyone at a cost of

$5 each, prepaid.

Advocacy is one of those words that we frequently hear but sometimes wonder just

what it means. The Webster online Dictionary defines advocacy as:

advocacy

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

and relationship-building.

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!

Ask yourself:

If not me, then who?

What do I believe?

What am I waiting for?


p. 7

p. 4

IN THIS ISSUE

#SaveTheCIF.................... 4

Early Education

is an issue of

National Security............ 6

2016 Public Policy........... 8

Issues to Watch 2017...... 11

An Intro to

Advocacy in the

Kansas Statehouse........12

Telling Your

Story to Affect

Policy Change.................15

Advocacy in the

Age of Social Media....... 17

Early Education:

A Winning Issue..............18

We are in this

Together..........................20

It’s Time to

Get Involved...................22

Growing up to be

Competent, Successful

Leaders...........................23

p. 12

p. 14


#SaveTheCIF

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

CIF survived.

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

the legislature.

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

recommendation, Senate

Bill 463 called

for the

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.

SECURITIZATION

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

children

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.

“TOP CHOICE”

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

tax policy

Kansas will continue to operate in a

perpetual state of fiscal crisis, and all of the

state’s most important investments remain

at risk.

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

serve children.

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

serve children.

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


Early education

National

is an issue of

Security

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

diploma. Even

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

and problem-solving.

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

the CIF.

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

Kansans’ educational

success and to the security

of our nation. <

www.ks.childcareaware.org Kansas Child 7


2016

Public Policy

As the largest funder of

early childhood programs,

Congress spearheads

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

nation’s children.

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.

High-quality child

care and early education

programs make a difference

for all children, but have the

biggest effect on low-income children.

GRACE REEF

Founder

Early Learning

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

development.

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

programs.

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

families.

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

education.

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

more children.

42%

4%

11%

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

from services.

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)

Program

FY2017 Senate

Approps Comm

FY2017 Senate

vs FY2016

FY2017 House

Approps Comm

FY2017 House

vs FY2016

FY2017 Funding

Increase Needed

Child Care and

Development Block

Grant (CCDBG)

$2,786 $25 $2,801 $40 $1,200

Head Start $9,200 $34 $9,309 $143 $434

Early Head Start & EHS/

Child Care Partnerships

Preschool Development/

Expansion Grants

$635 FREEZE $645 $10 $150

$250 FREEZE $250 FREEZE $100

Sources:

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:

2017

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

Stay Informed

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

legislative session.

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

Twitter account.

12 Kansas Child


the Kansas Statehouse

Timeline

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

advantageous.

Follow Up

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


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...

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

on dozens

of pieces of

legislation in

a single day.

They rely on

legislative

staff,

committee

chairs, media

and constituents

to inform them on

issues where they lack

expertise.

All commonsense

policy is data-driven.

Credible research

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

Lexie Engleman

Ava Patrick

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

challenges?

What would

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

kac@kac.org. <

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

and adapts.

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

policymakers.

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

those groups.

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

strategy.

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

conversation. <

17


Early Education

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

Hillary Clinton

supporters — agree

that Congress

and the next

president must

make quality,

early childhood

education more

accessible and

affordable to lowand

middle-income

families.

The poll

additionally found

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

women.

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

good-paying jobs.

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

local level.

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

$1 spent.

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

preschool services.

•§

Early childhood education is a

bipartisan issue. In fact, key swing

state voters across the country

support making investments in early

childhood programs.

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.ffyf.org.

www.ks.childcareaware.org Kansas Child 19


We are in this

Together

By Dr. Craig Correll,

Superintendent

Coffeyville Unified

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

together.

The district

had two, half-day

Pre-K rooms, as did

Head Start. Tri-County

Special Education also

operated a classroom for Pre-K

students.

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.

Four additional

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

care.

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

Coffeyville,

this center

could be the

catalyst for

change the

community

needs. We

have already

seen our

special

education

numbers

decreasing

and children

coming to

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

HON. TERRIE

HUNTINTON

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

State Legislatures.

“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! <

22


Growing Up

to Be Competent,

Successful Leaders

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

and children.

“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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A publication of Child Care Aware ® of Kansas

Winter 2016 Volume 15, Issue 1

CHILD CARE SUPPLY AND DEMAND

Community Challenges | Sharing Our Stories | (Re)Searching for Answers in Rural Kansas

A publication of Child Care Aware ® of Kansas

Spring 2016 Volume 15, Issue 2

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