10 October 2023 | Early Learning Tax and Budget Health Economic Security

September 2023 Newsletter

Kansas Action for Children
September 28, 2023

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Interim Child Care Committee Meets, Hears from Stakeholders

Tuesday was the first meeting of the 2023 Special Committee on Child Care Centers and Child Care Homes. Lawmakers heard from state agencies, received an update from the Governor’s Early Childhood Task Force (which is developing a plan to create a new state agency focused on children aged 0-5), and listened to stakeholders give their perspective on the ongoing challenges from Kansas’ child care crisis.

We presented testimony to the committee, along with a letter signed by more than 100 Kansans calling on lawmakers to invest in child care. The child care crisis cannot be solved without significant investment from lawmakers to bring down costs for parents while helping providers increase wages and workplace benefits to make child care a more favorable field for workers.

Child care is essential infrastructure, enabling parents to enter the workforce and reliably provide for their families. And with 90% of brain development happening before a child’s 5th birthday, it’s also the foundation for kids’ learning.

The next meeting for this committee is planned for November 1. We hope to see more discussion around what state investments the Legislature could make when they come back for the legislative session in January.

2023 Kansas KIDS COUNT Data Book Released Next Week

Next week, we will release the 2023 Kansas KIDS COUNT© Data Book. This 100-page resource will be available very soon, detailing how kids are faring in health, education, and economic well-being outcomes.

This project provides multi-year analysis of several issues affecting kids, from poverty and food insecurity to early learning programs and health coverage.

While there are many policy solutions we included in the report, we know that this Data Book is not the end of discussion – it's just the beginning. We welcome your feedback on what is presented in the report and look forward to working with you in the coming months.

Stay tuned for the online version at the beginning of October!

Join Our Team!

We have two career opportunities open right now! Our team provides lawmakers with the information they need to prioritize kids and families in vital decision-making before and during the legislative session. This work takes persistence, patience, curiosity, and a commitment to teamwork.

The Education Policy Advisor will lead advocacy for our early learning, child care, and K-12 education policy areas. With improving the child care crisis being a priority for many lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, this position will be a great opportunity to make connections and influence Kansas policy within the hire’s first year.

The Fiscal Policy Analyst will be our eyes and ears for nearly all things related to the Kansas budget. Fiscal policy is closely tied to programs that support Kansas kids and their families, and understanding how the budget is allocated is an invaluable role at KAC.

Please help us spread the word on these positions – we're excited to bring new people onto the KAC team!

KanCare Contract Selection Process

We are keeping an eye on the Medicaid procurement process, which the state has started once again. The state’s current managed care organization (MCO) contracts end in December 2024, but the process is already underway to choose which organizations will provide services to those enrolled in KanCare.

Learn more about what the MCO procurement process is and the history of why the state contracts with outside organizations to provide KanCare services to hundreds of thousands of Kansans. We’ll have updated news next month about how the process is going so far and what to expect next.

August Revenues Slow Down, but No Cause for Worry (Yet)

August revenue collections were lower than expected, hitting about $24 million under previous estimates. While revenues coming up short is not ideal, the state has 10 more months in this fiscal year to get back on track to collect $10.3 billion for the entire fiscal year.

Though there are many possible policy solutions to improve the state tax system, the fact that Kansas does not rely on only one tax source absorbs some of the impact of revenue fluctuations throughout the year, allowing for more accurate forecasting and fiscal planning.

See the exact August numbers here…