This article and photo originally appeared on the University of Wyoming website and are reprinted with permission.
The Wyoming Early Childhood Outreach Network (WYECON) at the University of Wyoming is a partner in the Early Childhood State Advisory Council that recently was awarded a $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families.
“Families, young children and early childhood educators in Wyoming have experienced the negative impacts of a lack of funding and disconnected or nonexistent systems of support for too long,” says WYECON Director and Associate Lecturer Nikki Baldwin. “Research has long recognized how vital early experiences are in shaping children’s lives, and now leaders in Wyoming acknowledge that we must create a new vision for supporting our youngest children, their families and those who care for and educate them.”
The funding will be used to help the council use existing resources more efficiently; encourage partnerships among child care and prekindergarten providers, Head Start programs and state and local governments; and improve transitions between early childhood programs and school systems. The yearlong project will include the development of an in-depth strategic plan and a comprehensive statewide birth-age 5 needs assessment.