Read KAC’s featured publications below or use the search field to the right for additional publications. Click here to request a complimentary hard copy of any of our publications.
2020 Legislative Wrap-up
This past legislative session, we saw important accomplishments and positive signs, but the approaching cloud of the coronavirus meant an early halt to proceedings. We saw advocates sow seeds of positive change, but an out-of-session Legislature was unable to tend to them.
Solving the Poverty Emergency
Some 103,000 Kansas children live at the poverty line or below. That means a family of three earning $21,330 a year or less. More than 41,000 children in the state live in extreme poverty, in which a family of three makes less than $11,000 a year. (1/20)
Increasing High-Quality, Affordable Child Care in Rural Kansas
High-quality, affordable child care is essential for Kansas children and their families. Increasing the supply for quality providers and investing in early childhood education produces positive academic, health, and social outcomes. (12/19)
2019 Legislative Wrap-up
The future is looking brighter for children and families in Kansas. Why? This year, and this legislative session, the state took its first big steps down the road to recovery. At Kansas Action for Children, we assisted lawmakers, activists, agency leaders, and the public with high-quality advocacy, research, and messaging. (7/19)
Furthering Federal Funding to Bolster Outcomes for Kansas Kids
Every Kansas child should have high-quality early education, nurturing places and spaces, and routine health care. These investments create a foundation for growth and development that lasts a lifetime. However, current Kansas law makes it difficult for children and families to receive these investments. (Created by the Kansas Center for Economic Growth Project.) (4/19)
The Benefits of Home Visiting
Through home-based visits with trained professionals equipped with strategies and tactics, parents gain skills and competencies essential to supporting and improving the health and development of their children. (Created with the United Methodist Health Ministry Fund.) (4/19)
Maximizing Medicaid for Kansas Kids
From access to prenatal care to a baby’s first encounters with a doctor, Kansas’ Medicaid program provides for powerful opportunities to shape the lives of Kansas kids and their families. (Created with the United Methodist Health Ministry Fund.) (3/19)
Early Childhood Education: Challenges and Opportunities in Kansas
High-quality, affordable early childhood education can help children prepare to be future leaders in our communities and in our state. Unfortunately, quality early childhood education is out of reach for many Kansas kids because of costs and missed opportunities for statewide collaboration. (3/19)
2018 KIDS COUNT State Brief
Kansas KIDS COUNT provides an annual snapshot of how children and families are doing statewide, as well as how they compare on a county-by-county basis. This brief reflects the current condition of Kansas children and should be used by state and local leaders to craft policies and interventions that can help every child achieve their full potential. (12/18)
Kansas Action for Children Hits the Road Microsite
In the fall of 2018, leadership and staff members from KAC traveled across Kansas to talk about the importance of early investments in children and families. We tracked their progress with this microsite aggregating tour stops, mapping, video clips, and social media posts. As the legislative session begins, the site will evolve to focus on our 2019 and 2020 policy priorities. (10/19)
Data Spotlight: Infant Mortality
Data Spotlight: Insurance Rates
By looking deeply at data, we can shape the future of Kansas. If we address the barriers facing children of color in our state, we can improve economic, health, education, and social outcomes across the board. Kansas Action for Children’s new Data Spotlight series examines how systemic racism shapes issues affecting Kansas children and identifies ways policymakers can help every Kansas child succeed. (6/18)
KAC Data Spotlight Microsite
We collected our Data Spotlight briefs in an informative, focused microsite. We believe that smart, committed application of data-driven policies can make Kansas a better place for children and families. (6/18)
2018 Legislative Wrap-up
At Kansas Action for Children, we look back at the 2018 legislative session with gratitude and pride. Gratitude to lawmakers who made prudent choices and to all of you who have supported our work through the years. Pride because we collaborated — staff and lawmakers and friends — to shape the state budget and enhance funding for early learning programs. (6/18)
2017 Legislative Wrap-up
For the first time in the organization’s history, Kansas Action for Children made tax reform its top policy priority in 2017. Alongside partner organizations, early educators, and friends, KAC has devoted significant advocacy to this cause because of all that children and families across the state have sacrificed in recent years. Because we’re looking ahead at what’s yet possible for Kansas children, this year’s legislative wrap-up is an unfinished story. (6/17)
Policy Brief: Building Strong Child Care: Improving Child Care Licensing Will Help Keep Kansas Kids Safe
High-quality child care is essential for children and working parents. Families need child care so that parents can work. Children need safe, stimulating early learning environments to help prepare them to succeed in school and in life. The state’s child care licensing is the foundation that ensures Kansas children are in safe child care settings with qualified child care providers.
Policy Brief: Selling Out Kansas Kids: Why Policymakers Should Reject Securitizing the Children’s Initiatives Fund
In 2016, the Legislature rejected three proposals by Governor Brownback to permanently sell off, or “securitize,” the Children’s Initiatives Fund (CIF) for a one-time, lump sum payment at a fraction of the total value of the annual amount Kansas receives. Selling the CIF would mean selling Kansas’ future by eliminating support for programs that provide for the education and care of the state’s youngest kids.
2017 Legislative Policy Priorities
For the first time in the organization’s history, tax reform will top KAC’s policy priorities for 2017. Although we will also continue to advance other policy initiatives near and dear to KAC’s mission, tax reform is the heartbeat behind everything we aspire to accomplish on behalf of Kansas children and families.
Primer: Why Do Kansas Children Need a Safety Net?
Safety net programs help Kansas families afford the very basics. Taking care of a family means putting food on the table, clothing your children and taking them to visit the doctor, and keeping a roof over your head. When Kansas families work at jobs that don’t pay enough to make ends meet, government programs can help bridge the gap between expenses and income to help families survive.
Policy Brief: Lost Opportunities for Kansas Kids
Early education reaches children when it matters most – when they’re young and their brains are still growing. Unfortunately, the perpetual budget crisis created by failed tax policy continues to weaken our state’s commitment to funding early childhood programs. Falling funding for children’s programs, sweeps from dedicated revenue streams, and cuts to existing programs all reduce the opportunities that help our youngest Kansans grow and thrive.
Policy Brief: Alternative Breakfast and Community Eligibility
Providing breakfast is one of the best ways to help a Kansas kid get a better education. Students who eat breakfast can concentrate better and retain more of the lessons they are taught. They are also less likely to suffer from anxiety and depression, require fewer visits to the school nurse, and have fewer tardies and absences. Teachers report seeing fewer behavior issues from students who have eaten breakfast, as well.
2016 Legislative Wrap-up
The 2016 session certainly presented a few disappointments, but KAC also accomplished crucial victories, thanks to key legislative champions and committed advocates. Overall, we believe we achieved the best possible outcome for Kansas children and families, given the difficult political and fiscal climate.
Report: Repairing the Kansas Safety Net
Policy changes enacted by the Kansas Legislature in recent years have prevented struggling Kansas families from accessing the safety net. Government programs can – and should – help Kansas families undergoing hard times meet their basic needs and get back on their feet. This includes critical programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and the Child Care Assistance program.
Policy Brief: Cash Assistance Helps Kansas Families Meet Their Basic Needs
Kansas operates a cash assistance program that helps struggling families meet basic needs. Families receive a very limited amount of cash through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. This means that being able to access every penny of assistance matters for a family in need of food, shelter, and diapers.
Policy Brief: Transparency Legislation and Opportunities for Positive Change
The 2016 legislative session is a challenging one. With so many controversial issues needing the Legislature’s attention, government transparency is a rare, non-controversial issue that impacts each and every Kansan. Open government bills offer an opportunity to do something significant for the people and improve Kansas government
Policy Brief: Lifting Children and Families out of Poverty
Economic security for Kansas children and families is the cornerstone of a strong economy and a prosperous state. When working families are able to provide basic necessities for their children, they are able to provide a stable foundation for learning and future development. The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a common sense way to let working families keep more of what they earn to make ends meet.
Policy Brief: Child Care & Development Block Grant
The 2014 re-authorization of the federal Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG)—the main source of funding for services related to child care in the state—requires a number of updates to state administrative policies. These changes will happen in two ways that will impact both providers and children across Kansas.
Policy Brief: Restoring Access to the Safety Net
The number of Kansas children living in families with incomes that fall below the federal poverty level ($20,090 per year for a family of three) continues to linger far above pre-recession levels. Since 2007, the Kansas childhood poverty rate has risen 20%. However, the state safety net is reaching fewer and fewer families in need of assistance.
Policy Brief: The KEY Fund and CIF in 2016
Kansas’ early education system depends on the Kansas Endowment for Youth (KEY) Fund and the Children’s Initiatives Fund (CIF). Some want to dismantle the current structure and eliminate the CIF, moving those dollars into the State General Fund (SGF). Kansas’ premier early childhood system should be left intact to ensure its consistently high return on investment for Kansas taxpayers and outcomes for Kansas kids.
Infographic: The Return on Investment from High-Quality Child Care
Meet Jack! Study after study proves that a child’s earliest environments can set the trajectory for an entire life, and high-quality child care could be Kansas’ most impactful return on investment. If Kansas invested in all kids Jack’s age, the savings for his class would be $173.49 million.
2016 Legislative Policy Priorities
The 2016 legislative session will be a pivotal time for Kansas children and families. KAC will be focused on important policy issues that improve the lives of children today and help shape better futures for tomorrow.
Meeting Brief: Opportunities for Implementing the Child Care and Development Block Grant Reauthorization
On August 31, 2015, KAC hosted child care stakeholders to discuss the future of child care in Kansas in the context of the reauthorized federal Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG). The convening brought child care providers, other members of the child care system, advocates, and members of the education community together in Topeka, Kansas, to listen to experts present information about CCDBG reauthorization. KAC facilitated a discussion about the existing child care system in Kansas and opportunities for improvement.
Infographic: Child Care Assistance
For Kansas families, the path out of poverty starts with a job. And the path to a job starts with child care. Child care assistance helps Kansas parents get back to work or enables them to go look for work. It is a critical step in helping low-income families get off welfare rolls, onto payrolls, and out of poverty.
Policy Brief: The Benefits of Breakfast
Children who have a healthy breakfast do better in school. They have better attendance, behavior, and academic performance. While healthy breakfast is available in most Kansas schools, many eligible kids miss out. When kids are hungry, they have a hard time focusing in class and learning. Breakfast in the Classroom is a good solution.
Infographic: The KEY Fund in 2015
Repeated sweeps have had a tremendous impact on funding for children’s programs since 1999. The Kansas Endowment for Youth (KEY) Fund, would have a balance of approximately $200 million had all funding promises been honored. Instead it will reach a record low of only $140,000 by fiscal year 2017. Read more here.
2015 Legislative Wrap-up
The 2015 legislative session could be categorized as a severe drought. There was a shortage of tax revenue, a shortage of compromise, and above all, a shortage of commonsense solutions for Kansas families. As a result, it was the longest—and one of the most divisive—legislative sessions in Kansas history.
The Tobacco Arbitration Settlement: What Will It Mean For Kansas Children?
A decision to either retain the MSA tobacco dollars in the endowment for children’s programs or to invest it in current children’s programs will strengthen Kansas children and provide a better start for future generations.
2013 Legislative Wrap-up
After the 2012 election, we lost a number of champions for children in the Statehouse. But with change comes new opportunities.
Restoring Our Commitment to Early Childhood
TANF: Troubling Trends in Kansas
2014 Legislative Wrap-up
Senate Bill 259
4 Reasons Why Medicaid Expansion Means a Healthier Kansas
2012 Legislative Wrap-up
Medicaid Reform: Is Kansas on the right track?
|Keeping the Promise: Children’s Initiatives Fund/Kansas Endowment for Youth
In the decade since the creation of the KEY Fund and CIF, the system for funding important children’s programs has evolved from an endowment to provide long-term investments into a yearly system addressing immediate needs
|Medicaid Reform: What does it mean for Kansas kids?
Medicaid and CHIP, collectively known as HealthWave, provide health insurance for more than 230,000 Kansas children. Medicaid has become a significant part of the discussion surrounding the state budget, and a recent proposal to transform Medicaid into KanCare makes the topic even more important. This brief provides and overview of Medicaid’s role in children’s health care and what the KanCare proposal means for kids. Click here for citations.
|Intro to Advocacy
Advocacy is an attempt to influence legislative action or change. But, in order effectively influence decisions at the Statehouse, it’s important to understand the legislative process, to be strategic in the relationships you develop and to utilize methods that effectively communicate your position or cause. This new report explains the process and provides tips for effectively advocating on behalf of Kansas children.