One of Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges’ first initiatives in office was her Cradle to K Cabinet, which brought together city leaders to create a plan to eliminate gaps in early care and education.
The final recommendations from the cabinet address healthy early childhood, literacy, safe and stable housing and access to quality, continuous care.
As a result of the cabinet’s recommendations, Minneapolis plans to tackle two key issues as a part of NLC’s City Leadership for Building an Early Learning Nation initiative: providing access to mental health services for young children and supporting the roles of fathers and male caregivers in early childhood.
Minneapolis has already begun work in both of these areas. The city formed a Childhood Exposure to Violence Workgroup to address the effects of violence and trauma on children, and worked closely with twin city St. Paul on President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Challenge. Their My Brother’s Keeper Plan includes two early childhood goals: getting a healthy start and entering school ready to learn.
Minneapolis plans to continue to expand the Cradle to K Cabinet to include more partners. Current stakeholders include leaders from higher education, nonprofits, social service agencies and city departments.
Moving forward, the cabinet plans to monitor the Minneapolis Public School’s use of suspensions in Pre-K and the early grades, develop a dashboard that measures key indicators in early childhood and make the Cradle to K website more user-friendly for parents, teachers and community members.