Policy Resource

A History of Creative Financing Puts Kansas on the Map

Feb 9, 2016

Since 1998, Kansas has used creative state financing approaches to supplement federal funding for the Early Head Start (EHS) program.

Former Kansas Governor Bill Graves first approved the transfer of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant funds to the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) to establish the state-funded EHS program. In subsequent years, policymakers utilized state general revenue, Children’s Initiative Funds from tobacco settlement dollars, and federal CCDBG quality set-aside funding to serve pregnant women and children birth to 4 years old.

This history of innovation set a useful precedent when the state launched an effort to create the Kansas Early Childhood Block Grant (ECBG) to (a) support high-quality, evidence-based child development services for at-risk infants, toddlers, and their families and (b) expand and enhance preschool opportunities for 3- and 4-year-olds. The ECBG targets three areas: Healthy Development; Safe, Stable, and Nurturing Relationships in Families; and Early Learning. The grants serve at-risk children and families through direct services and at least 30% of ECBG funding must be spent on programs specifically for at-risk infants and toddlers. The ECBG and Smart Start Kansas programs were combined in 2013 and received a total of $18.1 million in dedicated funding from the Children’s Initiative Fund. Grantees are required to raise a 10% cash match. New tobacco settlement payments are assigned to the Children’s Initiative Fund, which supports the ECBG as well as other initiatives.

In Fiscal Year 2018, $14,653,466 was invested in ECBG-funded programs and the program served 6,146 families and with 7,102 families.

This description of Kansas work as it began was highlighted in ZERO TO THREE’s publication A Place to Get Started: Innovation in Infant and Toddler State Policies.

Updated July 2019

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