The Importance of the Early Years

A growing body of evidence points to the importance of the early years in child development as well as in shaping a person’s health and economic success later in life.

Research shows that brain growth is most rapid during the first three years of a child’s life. This is when a child acquires the ability to think, speak, learn and reason. However, significant development continues throughout the early years including language and literacy enrichment and social growth.

In Kansas, most programs designed to promote healthy growth and development in the early years is funded, at least in part, by the Children’s Initiatives Fund (CIF).  The CIF was created by policymakers using payments made to the state from the master tobacco settlement. The CIF is administered by the Children’s Cabinet and Trust Fund. Programs that receive CIF funding undergo a rigorous evaluation by the Children’s Cabinet to ensure that state dollars are being spent effectively.

While Kansas policymakers have affirmed their commitment to programs impacting the early years in the past decade, increasingly tight state revenue projections will create funding challenges across the state budget in upcoming years. This makes the work of the Partnership for Early Success and other advocates for young children even more vital to ensuring the health and success of future generations of Kansans.