CDSA to host state focus group to improve early childhood outcomes

Community Development Support Association

ENID, Okla. — Community Development Support Association (CDSA) has been chosen as one of 11 organizations in Oklahoma to host an Oklahoma Partnership for School Readiness Community Conversation to collect community input on steps needed to improve outcomes for Oklahoma children.

CDSA will engage community members involved in early childhood education and development in a Community Conversation focus group June 27, in collaboration with Oklahoma Partnership for School Readiness (OPSR).

OPSR recently was awarded a more-than $3 million OKFutures grant from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Community Conversation, part of the OKFutures grant, will "shape a strategic plan to improve Oklahoma’s early childhood system," according to a press release. Other Community Conversations focus groups will occur in Ada, Lawton, Oklahoma City, Ponca City, Stigler, Stillwater, Tahlequah and Tulsa.

“As an organization that works with underserved populations, we are proud to host the upcoming Community Conversation with the Oklahoma Partnership for School Readiness," said Kim Kelly, CDSA early childhood director. "We believe that we can offer crucial perspectives on early childhood needs as well as potential improvements and solutions.”

The Community Conversation session will be framed around three focus areas: health, early care and learning and family support.

Community Conversation sessions are being organized in the wake of an Annie E. Casey Foundation report released last week, 2019 Kids County Profile, which found Oklahoma was 42nd overall for children's outcomes.

The report ranked Oklahoma 45th in education, 43rd in health — with the worst disparity being in the percentage of children without health insurance — and 40th in family and community factors, including high rates of children in single-parent families and high teen birth rates.

According to the CDSA press release, Community Conversation feedback will be used to "shape a focused, high-quality strategic plan to more efficiently use existing resources, build stronger partnerships, maximize parent choice, access and knowledge, and improve the overall quality of Oklahoma’s early childhood system."

The session will be 1:30-3:30 p.m. June 27 at The Non-Profit Center, 114 S. Independence. Kelly said there are a limited number of spots available for stakeholders in early childhood education and care, and anyone in that field who would like to participate can contact her by noon Friday at (580) 242-6131.

For more information OKFutures, visit

Neal writes for the Enid News & Eagle, a CNHI News Service publication.

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Neal is health, military affairs and religion reporter and columnist for the Enid News & Eagle. Follow him on Twitter, @jamesnealwriter, and online at He can be reached at