Cradle to K Cabinet Releases Final Plan to Address Early Learning Disparities in Minneapolis
Mayor Hodges and the Cradle to K Cabinet released the final Cradle to K report outlining policy, legislative and collaborative recommendations for 2015 and beyond.
“As much as possible, these recommendations are based on research and the prevailing best practices in the field and in our community. We want to focus on what works.”
-Mayor Betsy Hodges
The Cabinet, focused on eliminating disparities for children in the City of Minneapolis from prenatal to age three, released the draft report earlier this year. “I want to thank the community for the serious and heartfelt response we received to the draft report. I think you will find we took many comments to heart and incorporated your feedback into the final report,” says Mayor Betsy Hodges, “These recommendations are grounded in our three goals and have been labored on not just by our 28 Cabinet members but also by our subcommittees and additional community members.”
The Cabinet is recommending systems alignment, leveraging existing resources, and increased investments in children in the areas of targeted home visiting, housing for very-low income families, child care assistance and early learning scholarships, and service funding for our most vulnerable children such as homeless children and children with special needs. “The Cabinet’s work is not done,” states Cabinet Co-Chair, Peggy Flanagan, calling Cradle to K a labor of love. “We are ready to get to work.”
Carolyn Smallwood, Cabinet Co-Chair and Executive Director of Way to Grow, adds that the Cabinet is now putting together its implementation plan. Carolyn outlined a few of the things the Cabinet will be working on right away:
- Improving the mental health services for children zero to three
- Combining efforts with Generation Next and others to continue to increase early childhood screening efforts
- Working on ways to increase the availability of housing for the most low-income families
- Looking at ways to increase early learning scholarship opportunities for families in Minneapolis and
- Trying to connect with family, friend and neighbor care providers who provide the majority of care to very young children.
Of these, Carolyn highlights, “It is critical for family, friend and neighbor care providers to have the correct information on getting kids ready for school.” The Cabinet’s vision for the future, as told by Mayor Hodges, is for every parent and child to have the same access to resources beginning with prenatal care, continuing to empower parents to create a nurturing environment for their children, having stable housing that can provide a safe place to learn, and not having that access be determined or affected by income or race.
The Mayor has said Cradle to K is one of her main priorities this year. The full report is available on the Mayor’s website.
Check out Way to Grow’s feature on KARE 11.