Start Young

Start Young For Success in Wyandotte County

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Start Young: For Success in Wyandotte County

Currently, there is only capacity to serve approximately 30 percent of working families with young children in Wyandotte County; and a scarcity of high-quality, full-day and full-year programs exists.

The Family Conservancy’s Start Young project is a public-private collaborative designed to improve child care in Wyandotte County, increasing access to high-quality, full-day, full-year child care for working families. This innovative three-year pilot program will impact 1,200 children in the first year.



Start Young in Action

Issue #1: Child Care Access


  • In Wyandotte County, there is only capacity to provide care for 30% of the children (under 6) potentially needing care. Of the more than 10,000 children (under 6) potentially in need of care in Wyandotte County, only 360 children are receiving child care subsidy.
  • In Kansas, one year of infant child care at a non-accredited center averages $10,955. In Wyandotte County, 24.6% of children are living in poverty (less than $25,000 for a family of four).


Improving Access to High-Quality Care

  • Start-up grants and consultation have enabled community centers to add 264 new child care spaces since June 2018.
  • Between June 2018 and June 2019, TFC helped 84 families access child care subsides. Families were also able to access gap funding to avoid processing delays and get care when they need it.
  • 180 families have received supplemental scholarships that enabled them to access child care.

Issue #2: Child Care Workforce

  • Child care workers in Kansas have an annual average salary of approximately $20,000.
  • Nationally, annual turnover rates for child care workers range from 26% to 40%.

Supporting Early Educators

  • 183 early educators have participated in professional development.
  • In the second year of Start Young, 118 teachers qualified for salary supplements. The average biannual payment was $750.
  • Thanks to salary supplements and on-site support, partner programs have maintained a 89% retention rate among participating teachers.

Raising WYCO

Raising WYCO is a committed group of early education, community, and business leaders committed to engaging a broad coalition of community stakeholders to identify feasible and sustainable solutions for improving child care access in Wyandotte County.

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“The Kauffman Foundation is proud to continue support for the Start Young initiative in its second year. … If we are to be successful in helping children develop a strong foundation when entering kindergarten, we must build a comprehensive and coordinated system of services, and Start Young is a highly promising approach to doing just that.”

– Halley French, The Kauffman Foundation

Not all children have the same opportunities. Let’s Change that.

Your donation to Start Young will have twice the impact by leveraging matched-funding from the State of Kansas. 

Help Children and Families Access High-Quality Child Care

FAQs about Start Young

What is high-quality child care?

High-quality child care providers understand their role is much more than care — they help children develop the social, emotional, physical and cognitive skills they need to be successful in school and life.

Why is high-quality child care important for early childhood development?

90% of brain growth occurs before the age of 5, which means the first years of life are critical in a child’s life and development. Quality interactions, healthy brain stimulation, positive emotional connections to parents and caregivers, and healthy nutritional habits can set the trajectory for years of success. With these key elements in place, a child can be mentally, physically and emotionally prepared to learn once they enter kindergarten – setting the stage for success throughout life.

Why is high-quality child care important for workforce development?

The Wyandotte Economic Development Council identified child care access and quality as barriers to achieving their goal of increasing the county’s per capita income. Child care has been made a priority for attracting qualified applicants to local jobs, and keeping local employees living and investing in the community. Quality early child care is also critical for preparing the workforce of tomorrow.

Why is high-quality child care important for improving health outcomes?

Many of the risks for diseases are shaped by the learning, coping, and decision-making skills that have been shaped by the age of 5. Driven by Wyandotte County’s health ranking (105th out of 105), a community-wide health assessment was conducted and the resulting 2017 Wyandotte County Health Assessment clearly pointed to child care and early education as a key to improving health outcomes.

Why is high-quality child care important for decreasing crime, substance abuse and incarceration rates?

The first 5 years provides the baseline for how a child views themselves, interacts with others, copes with trauma, and views the world around them, informing their ability to reach their full potential. One study shows that investing in early care and learning yields a 13 to 1 return, preventing the need for future interventions in the child’s life.

What is a Two-Generation Approach?

A two-generation approach focuses on creating opportunities for and addressing needs of both children and the adults in their lives. This approach recognizes the critical role a parent, caregiver and/or teacher has in a child’s life.

What are the specific goals of the Start Young 3-year pilot program?

Over the course of three years, Start Young aims to create 300 new, high-quality, full-day child care slots by helping existing, Wyandotte County programs run more efficiently and supporting the creation of new programs. Simultaneously, the project will provide professional development to teachers and child care providers, ensuring the quality of care they provide will increase.

How is Start Young funded?

The State of Kansas Children’s Cabinet and Trust Fund earmarked $3M in the budget over three years by the name of Communities Aligned in Early Development and Education (CAEDE). These funds are contingent on a 1:1 match (or $1M each year) from the private sector for a combined investment of over $6M over three years.

Which organizations will be participating in the Start Young collaborative?
The Family Conservancy has partnered with Mid-America Regional Council, United Way of Wyandotte County, Juniper Gardens Children’s Project, and Child Care Aware of Kansas to deliver the project. Additionally, there are currently 16 child care partners involved in increasing capacity and quality for children in this first year of the Start Young project.

Contact The Family Conservancy

Are you an employer, child care provider or donor interested in learning more about Start Young?

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