Start Young

Improving Child Care in Wyandotte County, Kansas

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Start Young: Improving Access to High-Quality Child Care

The Family Conservancy’s Start Young program addresses the most pressing
child care-related challenges in Wyandotte County:

  • There is currently capacity to meet 27% of the demand for child care.
  • The average cost of care for an infant and a preschool child is $22,672.
  • In a recent survey, Kansas City Metro providers reported that they were operating at 60% of their desired capacity.


Start Young in Action

Improving Child Care Access

  • Start-up grants and consultation have enabled community child care providers to add 358 new child care spaces since June 2018.
  • More than 400 families have received supplemental scholarships that allowed the to access the care they needed.


Supporting Early Educators

  • By participating in free professional development, 180 teachers improve their practices and child outcomes each year.
  • Salary supplements and on-site support have helped partner programs maintain a minimum retention rate of 87%. Since December 2018, 201 early educators have received salary supplements. The most recent semi-annual payment averaged $710.

Raising WYCO

Raising WYCO is a committed group of early education, community, and business leaders committed to engaging a broad coalition of community stakeholders to identify feasible and sustainable solutions for improving child care access in Wyandotte County.

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“The Kauffman Foundation is proud to continue support for the Start Young initiative in its second year. … If we are to be successful in helping children develop a strong foundation when entering kindergarten, we must build a comprehensive and coordinated system of services, and Start Young is a highly promising approach to doing just that.”

– Halley French, The Kauffman Foundation

Not all children have the same opportunities. Let’s Change that.

Your donation to Start Young will have twice the impact by leveraging matched-funding from the State of Kansas. 

Help Children and Families Access High-Quality Child Care

FAQs about Start Young

What is high-quality child care?

High-quality child care providers understand their role is much more than care — they help children develop the social, emotional, physical and cognitive skills they need to be successful in school and life.

Why is high-quality child care important for early childhood development?

90% of brain growth occurs before the age of 5, which means the first years of life are critical in a child’s life and development. Quality interactions, healthy brain stimulation, positive emotional connections to parents and caregivers, and healthy nutritional habits can set the trajectory for years of success. With these key elements in place, a child can be mentally, physically and emotionally prepared to learn once they enter kindergarten – setting the stage for success throughout life.

Why is high-quality child care important for workforce development?

The Wyandotte Economic Development Council identified child care access and quality as barriers to achieving their goal of increasing the county’s per capita income. Child care has been made a priority for attracting qualified applicants to local jobs, and keeping local employees living and investing in the community. Quality early child care is also critical for preparing the workforce of tomorrow.

Why is high-quality child care important for improving health outcomes?

Many of the risks for diseases are shaped by the learning, coping, and decision-making skills that have been shaped by the age of 5. Driven by Wyandotte County’s health ranking (105th out of 105), a community-wide health assessment was conducted and the resulting 2017 Wyandotte County Health Assessment clearly pointed to child care and early education as a key to improving health outcomes.

Why is high-quality child care important for decreasing crime, substance abuse and incarceration rates?

The first 5 years provides the baseline for how a child views themselves, interacts with others, copes with trauma, and views the world around them, informing their ability to reach their full potential. One study shows that investing in early care and learning yields a 13 to 1 return, preventing the need for future interventions in the child’s life.

What is a Two-Generation Approach?

A two-generation approach focuses on creating opportunities for and addressing needs of both children and the adults in their lives. This approach recognizes the critical role a parent, caregiver and/or teacher has in a child’s life.

What are the specific goals of the Start Young 3-year pilot program?

Over the course of three years, Start Young aims to create 300 new, high-quality, full-day child care slots by helping existing, Wyandotte County programs run more efficiently and supporting the creation of new programs. Simultaneously, the project will provide professional development to teachers and child care providers, ensuring the quality of care they provide will increase.

How is Start Young funded?

The State of Kansas Children’s Cabinet and Trust Fund earmarked $3M in the budget over three years by the name of Communities Aligned in Early Development and Education (CAEDE). These funds are contingent on a 1:1 match (or $1M each year) from the private sector for a combined investment of over $6M over three years.

Which organizations will be participating in the Start Young collaborative?
The Family Conservancy has partnered with Mid-America Regional Council, United Way of Wyandotte County, Juniper Gardens Children’s Project, and Child Care Aware of Kansas to deliver the project. Additionally, there are currently 16 child care partners involved in increasing capacity and quality for children in this first year of the Start Young project.

Contact The Family Conservancy

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