Mayor Hodges, Cradle to K Cabinet Release Draft Recommendations, Ask for Public Feedback
January 27, 2015 (MINNEAPOLIS) — Mayor Betsy Hodges today released her Cradle to K Cabinet’s draft report, which outlines policy, legislative and collaboration recommendations. Mayor Hodges was joined by members of her cabinet at a press conference to discuss the draft recommendations, which include increasing early childhood screening at age three, decreasing the word gap of children birth to three, increasing housing options for the lowest-income families, expanding home visiting, increasing the number of available high quality child care slots in Minneapolis, and more.
“I am very happy to be sharing these draft recommendations, which have been labored on not just by my 28 Cradle to K Cabinet members, but also by additional community members that are on each of our subcommittees,” said Mayor Betsy Hodges. “These draft recommendations are grounded in our three goals that we believe will help us close the achievement gap in our city’s educational system by eliminating disparities for children from birth to three years old. As much as possible, they are based on research and the prevailing best practices in the field and in our community – our goal from the beginning has been to focus on what works.
“We are now asking for the community’s participation. We know that many of these recommendations won’t be possible without support from the community, so we are inviting all of you to be part of this process as we work to create equity with our kids.”
The draft report comes after about seven months of committee work. Peggy Flanagan and Carolyn Smallwood, the Co-Chairs of the Cradle to K Cabinet, joined the mayor in discussing some of the draft recommendations.
“We believe these recommendations and strategies will best move the dial on each of our three goal areas,” said Peggy Flanagan, Executive Director of the Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota. “Specifically, we are recommending systems alignment and increased investments in children in the areas of targeted home visiting; housing for very-low income families; child care assistance and early learning scholarship; and service funding for our most vulnerable children such as homeless children and children with special needs. Additionally, we must engage the entire community in this conversation on how to eliminate disparities for our youngest residents.”
The draft report can be found on the mayor’s website, at http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/mayor/cradle/WCMS1P-136627. The Cabinet is asking the public for feedback, which can be provided through the website. All feedback will be reviewed and incorporated into the final report, due out later this spring. Cabinet members will also be hosting public forms over the coming weeks to gain additional feedback on the draft report. Once those dates and locations are decided, details will be provided on the Cradle to K website.
“Achieving equity with our children will take our entire community,” said Carolyn Smallwood, Executive Director of Way to Grow. “We are asking the public to be part of this process by sharing their thoughts on our draft recommendations. We’re also asking for general feedback about what early childhood programs and initiatives are working, so we can look to models of what we should be doing more of. It’s time we take advantage of our opportunities to eliminate disparities before they even exist, so that all people in Minneapolis can thrive and succeed.”
Goals and Recommendations in the Cradle to K Draft Report:
Goal One: All children 0 to three will receive a healthy start rich with early experiences that prepares them for successful early education and literacy.
- Increase early childhood screening at age three.
- Improve mental health services of children birth to three.
- Decrease the “Word Gap” of children birth to three.
- Expand targeted home visiting services.
- Increase community awareness and engagement in the importance of early childhood development
Goal Two: All children are stably housed.
1. Increase housing options for the lowest income families at 30% Area Median Income.
2. Target funding to address the needs of homeless children and families to improve their stability while on the path to housing.
3. Provide resources for very-low income families to become economically stable.
Goal Three: All children ages 0-3 have continuous access to high quality child development centered care.
1. Ensure that low-income families have access to financial resources to afford high quality early learning programs.
2. Increase the number of available high quality child care slots in Minneapolis.
3. Partner with family, friend and neighbor providers to ensure that the children they serve are prepared for kindergarten.
The Cradle to K Cabinet is one of Mayor Hodges’ major initiatives, with a goal of eliminating disparities for children in the City of Minneapolis from prenatal to three years old. The Cabinet has been meeting since spring of 2014. You can see a full list of cabinet members here.
Published Jan 27, 2015