Kentucky often is at the forefront of national innovation in early childhood governance and finance, starting over 20 ​years ago with the passage of House Bill 706 in 2000.

At that time, it was the most comprehensive package of ​early childhood legislation in the nation and addressed the needs of the whole child: health care, family assistance, high-quality education, ​and community involvement. In ​addition, it committed 25-percent of the Kentucky Tobacco Settlement Fund, annually, to support early childhood programs.

Kentucky has made notable achievements in early childhood, including being one of the first states in the nation to:

  • Develop Early Childhood Standards and Professional Development Pathway;
  • Create a tiered quality-rating system;
  • Create an Office of Early Childhood;
  • Design a consensus-driven definition of kindergarten readiness;
  • Implement a Kindergarten Readiness Screener; and
  • Create the Early Childhood Profile produced by the​ ​​​Kentucky Center for Statistics (KYSTATS) to provide communities with the data they need to make local programmatic decisions.

Kentucky also secured two large very competitive ​​federal grants. None of this would be possible ​without its investment in early childhood education, strategic leadership​, collaborative partnerships, or ​commitment to early childhood education.




$144.4 million secured in Federal Grants between 2013-2022​​

  • 2000: KIDS NOW Legislation
  • 2002: Establishment of Quality Rating System
  • 2003: Developed Standards for Early Childhood
  • 2009: Recommended establishment of the Early Childhood Advisory Council and the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood
  • 2010: Developed and approved consensus-driven definition of School Readiness
  • 2013: Developed Early Childhood Profile
  • 2014: Implementation of Kindergarten Entry Screener
  • 2016: Registered Youth Apprenticeship Developed
  • 2017: Investment of first ‘mixed delivery pilots improve access and quality
  • 2019: Five Year Strategic Plan adopted
  • 2020: Defined and documented data-driven Bright Spots
  • 2021: Revised Kentucky’s Early Childhood Standards
  • 2022: Registered Director/Administrator Apprenticeship d​eveloped​