Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges speaks to participants at a March 5 discussion on her Cradle to K plan.

A plan to improve the lives of very young Minneapolis children was scrutinized this week in two public discussion sessions.

Nearly 200 people -- teachers, graduate students and neighborhood organization leaders, among others -- gathered to discuss the recommendations released in January by Mayor Betsy Hodges’ “Cradle to K” Cabinet.

The group was convened last year to tackle the health and wellness of babies and children through age 3. Its draft recommendations include a series of goals for ensuring children and families can find safe housing, access high-quality child care services and proper health care.

The Mayor’s Office is now taking comments on the panel’s 37-page report, including feedback offered in the two small-group discussion sessions held at Children’s Hospital and the Phyllis Wheatley Community Center.

At Thursday’s session, Hodges told participants that their feedback was needed to finesse the plan and develop strategies for achieving her cabinet’s goals. She said ensuring that the city’s youngest residents all get a good start is crucial to future progress.

“This is about the future of our city,” she said. “We know we are growing as a city, and I want us to grow. To do that, we’re going to need to have everybody’s gifts and talents on the table.”

The city will continue taking feedback on the report before finalizing the recommendations.

The proposal currently does not include specific details about how projects would be funded, or about the city's specific role in meeting the goals laid out by the mayor's panel. A final report is to be released this spring.