In February 2001, the 10th annual Kentucky Kids Count book was released. The Kentucky Kids Count book collects and analyzes data on the lives of Kentucky’s children. Through analysis of the data, Kentucky Kids Count provides a snapshot of the well-being of children in each of the Commonwealth’s counties. The good news for Boone County in 2001 was that it was rated second (2nd) among all Kentucky counties, behind only Oldham County, for child well-being. Despite this, it was readily apparent from the reported data that there was room for improvement. For example, in Boone County, too many children were born weighing less than 5.5 pounds and with higher than desired maternal risk indicators.
In response to this data, representatives from seven countywide agencies (Boone County Cooperative Extension District, Boone County Fiscal Court, Boone County Library District, Boone County School District, Boone County Sheriff’s Department, Northern Kentucky Independent Health District, and Walton-Verona School District) started meeting once a month to review the findings of the Kids Count book and explore underlying causes of the identified problems. This group became known as the County Needs Assessment (0-18) or CNA (0-18).
Over the course of a year, CNA (0-18) explored many key issues related to child development. A few issues in particular kept coming to the forefront. First, many children enrolling in school in Boone County were not arriving prepared to succeed. Second, although many different agencies offer programming geared to young children, these efforts on occasion lacked focus and coordination. As a result, CNA (0-18) identified the need to specifically target early childhood issues in Boone County. After studying early childhood efforts nationwide, CNA (0-18) identified United Way’s Success By 6® initiative as an outstanding model to emulate. First launched in Minneapolis in 1988, Success By 6® is now active in over 330 communities nationwide, including Louisville and Lexington. In partnership with United Way of Greater Cincinnati - Northern Kentucky, work on the Boone County Success By 6® initiative started in September 2002. United Way joined the original seven countywide agencies in this effort. Corporate leaders Bank of Kentucky, Citigroup, Delta Air Lines and Fifth Third Bank of Northern Kentucky and Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America also joined the Boone County Success By 6® partnership.
A Leadership Council was organized with representatives from all of the partners. The Leadership Council meets regularly and is charged with providing an overall vision for improving the lives of Boone County’s young children. The Leadership Council adopted a mission statement that they would work to “unite Boone County to ensure all children are healthy, safe, nurtured and prepared to succeed in school”.
In June of 2004, the first Executive Director of Boone County Success By 6 was hired.
Boone County Success By 6® has completed specific and measurable action plans for addressing issues with early literacy, obesity prevention and quality early care. Currently we are working to implement these plans throughout the county. For more information on specific strategies, please contact us.
Boone County Community Early Childhood Council: Boone County Community Early Childhood Council is a partnership with Boone County Success By 6® which is funded through KY Tobacco Settlement dollars used to fund the Kentucky KIDS NOW early childhood initiative. The council works in collaboration with Boone County Success By 6® to deliver trainings to early care and education providers and staff, hosts an early childhood fair each fair which draws about 600 people to learn about community resources for young children and is working to increase public awareness on the importance of choosing quality care.