TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Former Kansas Representative John Wilson is hoping to use his new role to advocate towards better state policies that support children and their families.

The new president of Kansas Action for Children, a non-partisan action group has worked to improve the lives of children in Kansas for the past 40 years, is hoping to encourage the Kansas Legislature to take further steps towards creating a better life for Kansas children in the upcoming session.

“We need to make sure that we as a state are doing all that we can to give them (children) the supports that they need during those years,” Wilson said. “It’s lots of supports, it’s not just high quality childcare. It’s access to healthcare. It’s making sure that they have safe places to spend their time. It’s making sure they have nurturing caregivers in their lives.”

One of the main problems Wilson is wanting to focus on is the 134,000 Kansas children living in poverty.

He hopes to tell legislatures how this harmfully effects their early childhood development, and share solutions to prevent this from happening.

Wilson said that he is wanting Kansans to understand the importance of a child’s development during prenatal to 8 years old. He said this is when children develop their social, emotional and functional skills, as well as skills that help them be successful and healthy later in life.

As his role in being a representative, Wilson said he has learned the importance of building relations with community members, and he plans to continue this in his new role.