We want to increase the percentage of children who are ready for school in all five domains of healthy development as part of our efforts to ensure that children are ready for school and Vermonters are free from the impacts of poverty.
The statewide results for this year’s Kindergarten Readiness Survey (KRS) assessment show an increase in the percentage of children “ready” in all five domains of healthy development, from 49% for 2013-2014 to 52.3% in 2014-2015. While only 52.3% of all kindergartners were found “ready” across all five domains, 80% or more of the children were rated as “ready” on all but two of the 30 items on the KRS. To be “ready” in any domain, all ratings within that domain must be “practicing” or “performing independently,” and to be considered “ready” across all domains, a kindergartner must be rated “ready” on all items in all domains (source).
Vermont is a good place to be a child: the Annie E. Casey Foundation ranks Vermont fifth in the nation for overall well-being of children. However, while longstanding political and financial investments in Vermont's children are paying off, not all of Vermont's children are thriving. Some children live in households that are not stable or safe, some experience early trauma or toxic stress, some don’t speak English, some are challenged by developmental delays or disabilities and many - 26% of children under age 5 - live in poverty. In 2014, Vermont received a $36.9 million federal grant - the Early Learning Challenge - to narrow the opportunity gap between high needs children and their peers before it occurs. Implementation is led by five participating organizations: the Governor’s Office, Agency of Education, Agency of Human Services, particularly Department of Health and Department for Children and Families, and the Building Bright Futures Statewide Advisory Council, in coordination with communities and a broad range of early childhood stakeholders. These, and other efforts, will help to realize the promise of every Vermont child.
AHS is currently using this tool to assess our agency contribution to reducing the rate of child abuse and neglect in Vermont. One Agency cannot turn the curve alone; there are many partners who have a role to play making a difference.