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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Ready by Five Early Childhood Proposal?

The Ready by Five Early Childhood Millage supports vital programs for Kent County children ages five and younger, so they are healthy and ready to learn by kindergarten. Kent County voters overwhelmingly approved the first early childhood millage in 2018. Voting “YES” on a renewal this August will provide another six years of funding for community-based early childhood programs that are proven to work.

What types of services will be funded through this proposal?

Services funded by Ready by Five include in-home parenting support and home visits, developmental screenings for children, prenatal support, connections to community resources, assistance navigating child care and other early childhood services, play and learn groups, elimination of hazardous substances from homes, intensive therapy for dealing with behavioral health issues, and provision of books for families to support reading at home. Programs and services are provided by community-based organizations.

What impact does the millage have on young kids in Kent County?

More than 12,000 young children and expectant parents from every zip code in Kent County participate in millage-funded programs every year. Quality early childhood programs have immediate and long-term benefits, including healthier babies, prevention of child abuse and neglect, improved family relationships and parenting skills, fewer instances of later grade repetition and lower need for special education, improved high school graduation rates, reduced criminal behavior and interactions with law enforcement, and a higher likelihood of adults in the workforce.

What outcomes have been achieved so far?

Participation in evidenced-based programs with a proven track record has increased by more than 12,000 children a year. Program outcomes include:

  • Improved third grade math and reading scores.
  • Reduction in preterm and low birthweight babies, especially for Black women (JAMA, July 2023).
  • Identification of more than 700 children with a potential developmental delay or disability.

Participation has increased most among children who are from historically marginalized groups and in the most economically disadvantaged communities, both urban and rural.

First Steps Kent established a countywide data collection system to track community progress and report back to taxpayers.

When can I vote on the proposal?

A 0.25 mill renewal of the Ready by Five Millage will appear on countywide ballots for the August 6, 2024, election. Absentee voting begins in late June, followed by in-person early voting. Information on when, where, and how to cast a ballot can be found on the Kent County website.

How much will the proposal cost homeowners?

The owner of a home valued at $300,000 will pay $37.50 per year, or $3.13 per month. The proposal is for a six-year renewal that would be included in property tax bills from 2025 through 2030.

How much funding will the proposal generate?

The millage is expected to generate $8.8 million in 2025.

How are the funds collected through the Ready by Five Early Childhood Millage allocated?

First Steps Kent is responsible for the oversight and administration of Ready by Five Early Childhood Millage funds. A board of residents – including parents, early childhood stakeholders, and county officials – reviews proposals and decides how funds should be allocated.

How are county government and any programs funded by this millage held accountable?

First Steps Kent has used millage dollars exactly as promised and has transparently communicated this progress to the communities it serves. First Steps Kent is subject to regular independent audits to promote accountability and the best fiscal practices. Millage reports can be found on First Steps Kent’s website.

How do I get more information on this proposal?

For more information, please email hello@yesreadybyfive.com.

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