Topeka, KS (STL.News) Governor Laura Kelly today announced Kansas was selected to join the National Governors Association’s (NGA) Supporting Child and Family Well-Being program. As families and communities face continued uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kansas was one of eight states chosen to join a network that will bring together Governors’ offices, child welfare leaders, state human services and education officials, and nonprofit partners to collaborate on strategies that improve and support child and family well-being.
“The pandemic has affected all Kansans – including our most vulnerable children and families,” Governor Kelly said. “I’m pleased to join this distinguished program so Kansas can become a leading state in building a stronger safety net and ensuring all families have the support and opportunities they need to thrive.”
The states included in the network are: Kansas, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, New York, Virginia and West Virginia.
The 2021 Child and Family Well-Being Learning Cohort was launched by the National Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and Casey Family Programs. Through the end of the year, the network will convene Governor’s office representatives, state human services executives, child welfare leaders, education leaders and others in a collaborative network to coordinate strategic solutions to preventing child abuse and neglect and ensuring child and family well-being.
Many states have seen large declines in the number of reports of child abuse or neglect during the COVID-19 pandemic. This phenomenon can be attributed to stay-at-home orders, the transition to virtual schooling, and children’s limited interaction with mandated reporters who can better direct and dispatch resources to families according to their needs. Yet the abuse and neglect crisis still exist, and amid the pandemic, state leaders are challenged to balance both the responsibility of ensuring children and families are connected to critical resources, and the obligation to maintain the safety and well-being of vulnerable populations.
As part of the network, Kansas will:
- Engage with a collaborative network of innovative state leaders to develop and coordinate solutions that improve child abuse and neglect prevention and support child and family well-being;
- Enjoy access to innovative tools designed by peers in the field and be paired with experts engaged by the NGA Center and Casey Family Programs; and
- Receive in-depth technical assistance tailored to state-specific goals, including workshops, webinars, facilitated peer-to-peer learning and more.
On March 24, Kansas joined the cohort of states in a virtual kick-off convening. The cohort will remain open to additional states for participation and will continue to meet regularly on a monthly basis throughout the year.