Dear Groundwork Advocates:
It's hard to believe that I've already been on the job for 60 days! I've met so many amazing people and have learned so much. Thank you all for helping me get acclimated to this new position. I'm encouraged by the talent and expertise within our ranks and am excited about Groundwork's future.
Check out some of my personal snapshots from a few of the things I've been doing around the state on behalf of Groundwork...
State Budget Update
Committee hearings on the executive budget proposal for FY 2018-19 continued in the Ohio House of Representatives this week in the House Finance: Primary and Secondary Education Subcommittee and the House Finance: Health and Human Services Subcommittee which hear and deliberate over the Department of Education and the Department of Job and Family Services budget proposals respectively. Of significant interest was testimony from ODJFS’s Director, Cythia Dungey. Director Dungey’s testimony in addition to the Department’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Spending Plan and it’s “Redbook” were made available yesterday.
As expected, early care and education investments have been flat funded.
As you know, ODJFS is responsible for administering Step Up to Quality (SUTQ), Ohio’s tiered quality rating and improvement system for child care programs. SUTQ’s intended designed was in large part to increase the number of high quality programs in Ohio and make them available to children and families who qualify for publicly funded child care. The state has set statutory goals that mandate that 100% of licensed child care providers be high-quality (rated 3 to 5 stars) by 2025 and require the following thresholds to be met:
By June 30, 2017, 25%
By June 30, 2019, 40%
By June 30, 2021, 60%
By June 30, 2023, 80%
ODJFS’s Redbook cites that in FY 2016, a total of 1,668 programs were star rated reflecting a 13.8% increase from FY 2015. In FY 16, 35% of all programs were rated with only 13.2% highly rated -- falling short of the June 30, 2017 mandated threshold. Flat funding over the biennium does not set the stage for improved progress.
The House Finance: Health and Human Services Subcommittee invites public testimony on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 immediately following session in Room 313 of the Ohio Statehouse. We look forward to seeing many of you there.
Social Media 101
According to Pew Research Center, in 2005, just 5% of Americans used at least one social media platform and today, 69% do. This 69% includes our decision-makers who are increasingly getting influenced by and sharing information on a variety of social media platforms, a couple of the most popular being Facebook and Twitter. 91% of Ohio State Senators and 81% of Ohio State Representatives have a Twitter account. You can’t afford not to use social media as part of your advocacy toolkit. The following are some ways to engage decision-makers on social media:
Be a Resource: Provide helpful information, highlight publications and evidence that support your mission. You’re the expert!
Promote Your Mission: Share who you are and your brand often by communicating regularly about your organizations daily activities, participation in events and strategic partnerships. If you don’t, who will?
Hold Them Accountable: Social media is one way to quote a decision-maker in real time or get a written record of their position. Bringing awareness to their position through social media can be effective if you want your audience to challenge their position or credit them as a leader of a certain issue.
Celebrate Success: Promote progress by celebrating it and thanking decision-makers for their time and contributions whether it’s attending your meeting or championing a cause. Pictures help!
Please help Groundwork build our social media presence. Engage with us by sharing our social media with your networks and following us on Facebook at Groundwork Ohio and Twitter @groundworkohio. We look forward to promoting you and your important work and resources too as we work together to move the needle on early care and education in Ohio.
Thank you for all that you do. As always don't hesitate to contact me with your feedback. Have a great weekend.
Shannon Jones Executive Director Groundwork Ohio