Mayor Hodges, Cradle to K Cabinet Release Final Plan to Eliminate Disparities for Minneapolis Children
Cabinet to begin work on implementation immediately
May 18, 2015 (MINNEAPOLIS) — Today Mayor Betsy Hodges and the Cradle to K Cabinet released their final report which establishes a plan to eliminate disparities for children in Minneapolis from birth to three years old. This has been one of the Mayor’s top initiatives.
The final report outlines policy, legislative and collaboration recommendations for 2015 and beyond. Read the final report here. The Cabinet which has been meeting since the spring of 2014 will immediately begin work on drafting an initial implementation plan for the recommendations made in the report.
“With the release of our final Cradle to K report we are sending a clear message to every child in the city of Minneapolis that we are committed to equity and to their success,” said Mayor Betsy Hodges. “I want to thank the 28 dedicated members of my Cradle to K Cabinet who have labored on this plan for the past year. My biggest thanks goes to the community for their serious and heartfelt engagement in this process.”
“Our youngest children are counting on us now, so now is the time for us to get to work. All of us will benefit when all of them succeed,” Mayor Hodges concluded.
The Mayor and her cabinet met with over 200 community members in March, received considerable internet feedback for the final report and held five parent focus groups to gather input on the draft plan. Community recommendations incorporated in the final report include the understanding that stable housing goes hand in hand with safe housing which resulted in the amending of the Cabinet’s housing goal.
Peggy Flanagan and Carolyn Smallwood, the Co-Chairs of the Cradle to K Cabinet, joined the mayor in discussing some of the draft recommendations.
“The strategies in the report will help us meet our three goal areas: ensuring each child 0 to 3 has access to a healthy start, stable housing and development centered,” said Peggy Flanagan, Executive Director of the Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota. “Specifically, we recommend systems alignment and increased investments in children in the areas of targeted home visiting; housing for very-low income families; child care assistance; and service funding for our most vulnerable children such as homeless children and children with special needs.”
“The final report we released today is an acknowledgement from the community that we cannot close the achievement gap without everyone’s participation and dedication,” said Carolyn Smallwood, Executive Director of Way to Grow. “We’ve reached a milestone but the Cabinet’s work is just beginning. We will continue to engage the community as we work to implement the report.”
Some of the areas the Cabinet plans to immediately address in their initial implementation plan are:
· Improving mental health services for children zero to three,
· Increasing early childhood screening efforts,
· Increasing the availability of housing for the most low-income families,
· Connecting with the people who provide the majority of care to young children.
Goals and recommendations in the Cradle to K 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.
1. Increase early childhood screening at age three.
2. Improve mental health services of children birth to three.
3. Decrease the “Word Gap” of children birth to three.
4. Expand targeted home visiting services.
5. 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.
Published May 18, 2015