What is groundWork?
Started in 2004, groundWork is a nonpartisan, research-based child advocacy initiative established by a broad cross-section of organizations, concerned citizens, and community leaders working to increase access to high-quality early childhood supports for all of Ohio's children and families.
groundWork is based on research showing that investments in high-quality early care and education result in significantly increased school readiness, student success, and overall economic returns to the state.
Who is groundWork?
What are the goals of groundWork?
groundWork members include thousands of supporters across Ohio unified around the vision that all Ohio families have the tools they need to make good choices for their young children, including early childhood education, health, and mental health options that support school readiness and healthy child development. To achieve that goal, groundWork is focused on the following core priorities for young children and their families:
Voluntary access to high-quality early care and education programs for all children in Ohio
Voluntary assessment, screening, and treatment for early childhood social and emotional problems
Increased access to early childhood health services and supports
Voluntary access to full-day kindergarten for every child in Ohio
Are health care issues really a necessary component of groundWork?
A key element to the success of early care and education is access to, and utilization of, low-income health care programs available to families in Ohio. Children who do not receive proper medical care in the first years of life, including immunizations, proper nutrition, and regular well-check visits, are more likely to suffer from a wide array of chronic health problems, including ear infections, asthma, obesity, poor hearing, allergies, and tooth decay. These conditions may cause stress, fatigue, or pain that interferes with a child's cognitive and social development, thus negatively impacting school readiness.
According to the 2004 Ohio Family Health Survey, there are currently 120,753 children in Ohio who are uninsured. In fact, as of 2002, 23.2% of Ohio's children had never had a well-baby exam - a critical preventative medical assessment. Moreover, one out of every five two-year-olds in Ohio has not been immunized. This lack of healthcare utilization and access has serious implications for the future of Ohio's children.
Where do infants and toddlers fit in to the effort?
groundWork calls for an increase in state funding for high quality early care and education for children ages birth to six, including increased funding for children ages birth to three in high-quality early care settings. Additionally, Ohio has several health and behavioral health care programs for infants and toddlers that may benefit from groundWork. Examples of such programs include the Access to Better Care (ABC) Initiative, Help Me Grow, the Early Childhood Mental Health Initiatve, and the Nurse-Family Partnership.
Will universal pre-kindergarten eliminate our mixed-delivery system?
No. The goal of groundWork is to ensure that parents are able to provide for their own child's care and education in any appropriate setting designed to meet families' unique needs. By increasing resources in the overall mixed delivery system - public and private, for-profit and nonprofit, faith-based and secular - all providers benefit.
Why is Early Care and Education (ECE) important for Ohio?
Many long-term research studies have shown that young children exposed to high-quality instructional settings exhibit better language and mathematics skills, better cognitive and social skills, and better relationships with classmates than do children in lower-quality care. Subsequently, students score higher in school-readiness tests; are 40% less likely to need special education or be held back a grade; and are 70% less likely to commit a violent crime by age 18.
What are the Economic Benefits to our Communities?
Access to ECE provides great benefits to children directly while providing economic support to parents and the state. Generating $1.95 billion annually in gross receipts and supporting almost 57,000 jobs in Ohio, adequate investment in the ECE industry is essential to the vitality of Ohio's economy.
In Ohio, the early care and education industry generates more revenue in gross receipts than investment banking, security dealing, and corn production. In addition to supporting parents and children, ECE provides economic returns to the state through long-term reduced costs.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland found that quality early childhood programs for low-income children generate an overall 16% rate of return on investment, 12% of which is a public rate of return. These children had much higher lifetime earnings and reduced dependence on welfare. This translates into a significant return on investment for the state.
How Can I help?
If you believe in high quality early care and education for all of Ohio's children, it is important that you speak out on this very important issue. Talk to family, friends, church members, and co- workers to spread the support for early care and education. Grassroots support and momentum is critical to increase Ohio's commitment to providing the tools that parents need to help raise their children.
If you would like to contribute to our groundWork with either your time or resources, please sign up on our website to receive a weekly email update, to advocate, or contact us.
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