This week, the Groundwork staff was excited to welcome the newest addition to our team—Alex Fisher! Alex joins Groundwork as our newest Policy Associate to support the development and implementation of Groundwork’s policy agenda, priorities and strategies through effective communication, advocacy, research, and data analysis.
Alex received a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Akron in the Spring of 2019 while serving as Page for Ohio Senator Vernon Sykes (D-Akron). Alex’s passion for children extends beyond his professional career in his role as co-founder of S.E.E. Ourselves, a non-profit organization exposing children of color to higher education through S.T.E.M. programs in Central Ohio.
We hope you'll join us in welcoming Alex to the Groundwork team!
Early Educators Speak Up for Children
Groundwork spent the past year traveling the state to present the findings included in our Race & Rural Equity Report. During these presentations, we asked early education professionals about equitable outcomes and what it means to the children they serve. Watch the video we created for you to hear first-hand from these early education professionals on how we can provide equitable outcomes for children. Watch the Video.
Less Than Two Weeks Left to Apply for Groundwork's Early Childhood Leadership Fellowship!
Beginning in 2020, early education and health professionals from across the state will have the opportunity to develop leadership skills, engage with thought-leaders and policymakers to advance quality early learning and health, and take steps to create state-, local-, and community-level change for young children in Ohio. Fellows will engage in a hybrid curriculum designed to build upon leadership and communications skills, expand knowledge around the landscape of Ohio’s early childhood systems, and empower participants to take on leadership roles in their communities and the early education and health professions across the state.
The Fellowship will incorporate in-person sessions, expert presentations, online learning experiences, and small group regional exercises designed to drive change in local communities. By the end of the year, Fellows will have gained the knowledge and tools needed to enhance their capacity to influence healthy development and early learning policies that will improve outcomes for Ohio’s youngest children and their families.
Applications must be submitted by 5 PM on December 13, 2019. Apply Now.
Connecting with Local Leaders
This week, Groundwork released a new report titled Building Brains. Building Communities. The Case for Investing in Children, Prenatal to Age 3 during the County Commissioners Association of Ohio’s Annual Winter Conference and Trade Show. The report highlights how investments in high-quality early learning lead to a substantial return on public investment – an upwards of 13%! Not only does high-quality early learning lead to a high return on investment, but it also provides children with the support and education needed for children to reach their full potential. Investing in high-quality early learning begins with support from leaders at the local level. This report provides local leaders with a framework of how to begin dialogue around supporting high-quality early learning and healthy development for children. Access the Report.
Groundwork Ohio Seeks to Improve Managed Care Procurement to Advance a Vision for Young Children
Recently, Groundwork Policy Director and Legal Counsel Lynanne Gutierrez wrote a blog post for The Center for Children & Families at Georgetown University. The blog post explores how early childhood advocates in Ohio (and other states) have a unique opportunity to influence Medicaid managed care plans to put young children at the top of their priorities during Medicaid procurement. During the procurement period in Ohio, Groundwork has taken any and all requests to meet with plans currently operating or interested in doing business in Ohio to better understand their thinking as it concerns young children. What we found was that many plans are interested in prioritizing young children in their plans, but would like input from the early childhood community on how they can better serve children and families. Read the Blog Post.
Ensuring Every Child is Counted
On Monday, the Ohio Complete Count Commission released their recommendations to ensure that every Ohioan is counted in the U.S. Census on April 1, 2020. Across the nation, young children are one of the most hard-to-count populations during the Census. We are happy to report that the recommendations by the Ohio Complete Count Commission specifically calls out the dire need of making sure young children are counted in the upcoming census and how the state can work with local organizations to encourage families to participate in the Census. Without a complete count, many of the programs utilized by children and families will go underfunded.
We are thankful for the recommendations outlined by the Ohio Complete Count Commission and hope that these recommendations get us one step closer to ensuring young children are counted in the Census! Read the Recommendations.
Groundwork Ohio Responds Boldly to Administration for Children & Family's Request for Information
Recently, the U.S. Administration for Children & Families (ACF) posted a Request for Information (RFI) on improving access to affordable, high-quality child care in the US. Groundwork's response to the RFI outlined why investing in high-quality early childhood education is beneficial for children, families, business, and society at large. To support this position, the response includes detailed recommendations and comments on increasing access to high-quality child care, improving child care regulations, investing in and supporting the child care workforce, developing better child care business models, and transforming the way child care is financed.
Additionally, ACF released its annual report on whether or not states have met provisions related to prioritizing children from families with very low incomes, children with special needs, and children experiencing homelessness. You can find the ACF report by clicking here.