Meeting Families Where They Are

The Ready by Five Early Childhood millage successfully provides dedicated and stable funding for programs that improve the health, school readiness, and well-being of children under age five in Kent County.

Meeting families where they are is always a cornerstone of effective early childhood programs, but never more so than when families face constant uncertainty and disruption. Through the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic, Ready by Five service providers have continued to meet families where they are and provide the support required to address their unique needs.

The past year offered opportunities to return to a more typical style of service delivery, including in-person early learning and home visits. Providers also continued to develop new and innovative ways to connect with families remotely.

Since 2018, Ready by Five has added 20 partners to the Ready by Five Network and supported more than 40 programs and services. Funding of more than $5.7 million per year helps give young children the start they need to be successful throughout school and life. The Ready by Five Resident Proposal Review Board – composed of parents and community members – recommends which programs should receive funding and how much. The Kent County Board of Commissioners has final approval.

The partnership between Kent County, First Steps Kent, and service providers is recognized as a national model and provides the foundation for our community to leverage additional state and federal funding to support families with young children.

In fact, First Steps Kent presented about both the Ready by Five Early Childhood millage and Shared Services strategies for National League of Cities, National Association of Counties, and the Beeck Center for Social Impact & Innovation at Georgetown University.

“We are so proud of the impact the Ready by Five millage is having on our community. These funds are significantly advancing the work of First Steps Kent and local community organizations to ensure every Kent County child enters kindergarten thriving and ready to learn.” - Kent County Administrator, Al Vanderberg

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