Ohio will soon receive an influx of federal funding intended to improve kindergarten readiness.
According to a statement from Governor Mike DeWine‘s Office, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services will receive a total of $48 million over three years to support and increase access to quality early childhood care and education as part of the Preschool Development Grant Birth to Five from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families.
According to DeWine, this funding will help better serve Ohio children.
“The largest group of Ohioans living in poverty are children aged five and under. This grant allows Ohio to better serve these children by creating stronger cross-program coordination and higher quality programming in publicly funded childcare, public preschools, early intervention, and home visiting that form a strong foundation for successful learning,” DeWine said.
Through a collaboration with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and the state departments of education, health, mental health and addiction, Medicaid, and developmental disabilities, DeWine said that the state will use the grant to increase access and family engagement in early childhood care and education.
It will expand child care for those with special needs, English language learners, and the homeless. Also, it will create long-term sustainable local, state, and federal funding for early childhood education programs.
The grant will expand marketing and outreach to increase family awareness of their potential eligibility and access to childcare options.
The state will use the grant to prepare early childhood care and education professionals with culturally appropriate trauma training credentialing and parent support. The finances will also ensure family members and other caretakers are key partners in grant activities, policy development, and new initiatives.
According to Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Director Matt Damschroder, “The plans for this grant are expansive.”
“It will fund a needs assessment to determine the best way to provide safe and enriching early child care and education for young children with physical disabilities and emotional needs. It will also address workforce needs, family engagement, and the impact of trauma on the mental health of children, all to help them achieve their God-given potential,” Damschroder said.
Nonpartisan public-policy research and advocacy organization Groundwork Ohio called the funding a “win” for children across the state.
“What a win for Ohio’s kids. The federal grant will help provide a strong foundation and increased kindergarten readiness, supporting a lifetime of success for our youngest,” Groundwork Ohio said.
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