Skip to main navigation Skip to main content

About Us

History of KidsNow



1999 – Governor Paul Patton created the Governor’s Early Childhood Task Force. The Governor recognized that quality early childhood experiences are related to the future economic development of Kentucky. The task force was charged with developing a long-term strategy that would enhance the opportunities Kentucky’s children had to succeed. The Governor specifically requested a 20-year plan in recognition that supporting quality early childhood experiences would require a significant financial investment over an extended period of time.

Click here to download the 20 year plan

2000 – House Bill 706, An Act relating to early childhood development was passed unanimously by both chambers of the Kentucky Legislature in March of 2000. At that time, it was the most comprehensive package of early childhood legislation in the nation, addressing the needs of the whole child – health care, family assistance, high quality education, and community involvement. In addition, it committed 25% of the Kentucky Tobacco Settlement Fund annually to support early childhood programs.

Click here to download House Bill 706

2000 – 2009 – the Governor’s Office for Early Childhood Development and later the Early Childhood Branch, working with the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, Kentucky Department of Education, Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority, Local Community Early childhood Councils and others to plan and implement KIDS NOW programs.

2009 – Governor Steven Beshear established the Governor’s Task Force on Early Childhood Development and Education (ECDE), co-chaired by Secretary Joe U. Meyer, Education and Workforce Development Cabinet and Secretary Janie Miller, Cabinet for Health and Family Services. Gov. Beshear directed the 28-member Task Force – comprised of stakeholders including public and private child care providers, school system personnel, college professors, business people and state agencies that administer programs for young children – to promote greater collaboration among providers of services to young children and reliance on accepted early learning standards and assessment, to bring a renewed emphasis to quality at all levels and to determine a common understanding and definition of “school readiness.” Additionally, the Task Force was asked to review the current service delivery system to ensure a more effective use of the public’s resources and a successful transition to kindergarten. The task force made eight recommendations that would serve as an early childhood framework for Kentucky's state agencies, community partners and families to improve early learning experiences and opportunities, helping to ensure school readiness for our children, schools and communities. These recommendations build on Kentucky's history of innovative early childhood education and development initiatives, from the Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA) in 1990 to the KIDS NOW initiative and legislation in 2000, to the Beshear administration efforts related to K-CHIP outreach and premium elimination, early childhood oral health and the Transforming Education in Kentucky (TEK) initiative which is focused on reinvigorating public support for K-12 education. The task force provided a unified vision for early childhood education and development in the Commonwealth and a plan of action to establish and strengthen collaboration and coordination across the system. Governor Beshear accepted the Task Force recommendations in December of 2010.

Click here to download the ECDE Task Force Report

2011 – Governor Beshear, acting on the eight recommendations of the Task Force, issued an Executive Order which created the 26 member Early Childhood Advisory Council (ECAC) and the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood and charging them with all of the duties of the KIDS NOW initiative as well as implementation of the ECTE Task Force.

Click here to download the 2012 Executive Order

2013 – House Bill 184 passed, enacting the new governing structure identified and other changes previously made in the Executive order into the KIDS NOW legislation.

Click here to view HB 184.

HB 184 Bill Signing

2014 - Kentucky received a $44.3 million federal Race to the Top grant to expand and enhance the quality rating system for early childhood programs. And soon after, Governor Beshear signed into law HB234 requiring all programs that receive public funds to participate in the rating system Kentucky All STARS.