CPPR’s Role in COVID-19 Response Efforts

Better World: When COVID-19 turned our lives upside down, CPPR was enlisted to help our most vulnerable residents. Our strong relationships and ability to quickly pivot allowed us to collaborate with state partners in developing time-sensitive responses in support of families, essential workers, and child care providers.

We are proud to be trusted partners and are honored to participate in work that has a positive impact on the lives of our fellow Kansans. The following article comes from CPPR’s internal newsletter (The Dot) and shares how we were able to step up during the COVID pandemic.

From The Dot, CPPR’s internal newsletter


Dear CPPR’ers,

We’ve shared bright spots about our role in the COVID-19 response efforts over the last several months. However, I’m not sure that the full impact has come through—on individual lives who received the funding and on individual lives (CPPR staff) who have made it happen. Following is the excerpt report that Teri put together for the KU Office of Research.

CPPR’s Role in COVID-19 Response Efforts

In addition to maintaining our current funding and projects, we are most proud of our work for the state of Kansas on COVID-19 CARES act support during a pandemic that has disrupted and detrimentally impacted the lives of Kansas and people across the world. Because CPPR has longstanding relationships with state agencies at the front-line of the pandemic response in Kansas, we were quickly able to pivot our attention and resources to supporting rapidly developing and time-sensitive responses for the governor and her Recovery Office.

We provided capacity and velocity for the Kansas Children’s Cabinet and Trust Fund (KCCTF), Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE), Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF), and Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) to quickly recommend strategies that would support children and families.

CPPR sits at the nexus of research, policy, and practice and is the state’s early childhood go-to. We leveraged our StoryBank of lived experiences to reflect back to policy makers at all levels how citizens are faring. (This work has not reached its full potential.) CPPR played a critical role in developing recommendations for strategies, creating review criteria, and carrying out reporting requirements for several CARES act investments in early childhood, education, and essential workforce supports. CPPR supplied critical and time-sensitive subject matter expertise, data, technical assistance, or implementation guidance for COVID-19 supports for children, families, care and education providers, and essential workers. This included:

Technology Grants to Families ($1,500,000). CPPR helped developed the framework and process for providing grants for technology equipment and internet access so families could continue receiving early childhood services virtually during the pandemic. Our work helped 1,584 families receive essential technology and internet access to continue receiving needed support for their children. This also resulted in families having the equipment and resources to connect virtually for remote learning, employment searches, and civic engagement.

Remote Learning Grants ($40,000,000). CPPR provided technical assistance to grantees for remote learning locations during the pandemic so essential workers and those caregivers who were returning to work could have a safe and accessible place for their children to receive remote instruction and guidance.

Worker Health Fund Application ($1,600,000). CPPR provided a secure and HIPAA compliant REDCAP survey that allowed essential workers across the state to safely apply for health funds related to COVID. Early childhood workforce and child care providers were deemed eligible for this funding. 500 workers in Kansas received these health funds.

Child Care Program ($2,500,000). CPPR supported KDHE and Child Care Aware in outreach and engagement across the state and network of child care providers. This program funded 440 child care facilities serving 11,000 Kansas children.

In addition to these direct to local assistance efforts, we also embedded story collection into the mix and are now awarding action lab funding to address needs that emerged from sensemaking sessions around those stories.

These programs were powered by us. There was a lot of behind-the-scenes action going on. I’m probably going to miss some folks and appreciate your grace in advance.

Special thanks to Sara Gardner, Mina Bischmann, Teri Garstka, James Martinson, Michele Berendsen, Cara Combs, Lindsay Orion, Owen Cox, Joe Coburn, Shala London, Bridget Patti, Jenny Flinders, Ariana Nasrazadani, Mandy Enfield, and Bonny Aureli.

And to all of you who picked up the slack on their projects when they pivoted to this work. This work takes us all and is making a difference.

In continued solidarity to create tomorrow today,

Jackie Counts