- Associated Press - Sunday, February 7, 2016

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Members of the Kansas Children’s Cabinet have criticized the leader of their group for excluding them from recent funding recommendations for early childhood programs.

The recommendations come in a document that says they are “from the Kansas Children’s Cabinet.” Yet group members said they hadn’t voted on them.

Amanda Adkins, the group’s chairwoman, said Friday she needed to move quickly to get the recommendations to lawmakers during the budget process, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported (http://bit.ly/1Q23zCz ).

The recommendations focus on Sedgwick, Saline, Shawnee and Wyandotte counties and call for tiered child care subsidies in Saline and Shawnee counties based on quality as an incentive to high-quality providers to accept available subsidies.

Cabinet members didn’t express opposition to the recommendations themselves, and in some cases praised them.

But cabinet member Rep. Valdenia Winn called for more conversation and discussion with the group before a recommendation takes place. Member Shannon Cotsoradis, president of Kansas Action for Children, said she was disappointed with Adkins’ public statements.

“That’s really not a recommendation coming from the cabinet because there was no dialogue with the cabinet,” Cotsoradis said.

Member Shari Weber didn’t express concern with Adkins’ actions.

“When you’re in a situation like that I would expect you would take the brains that have taken in all this data, that looked at it for a decade, and put it before them in a way that kind of makes sense,” Weber said. “I know you don’t have time to call me and ask my permission.”

That, however, drew a response from member LeEtta Felter.

“Why even have a cabinet then?” Felter said. “There is a difference between presenting data and a plan and speaking on behalf of the rest of us.”

The children’s cabinet agreed to schedule an additional meeting before its next scheduled meeting on April 22.

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Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, http://www.cjonline.com

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