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Groundwork Speaks Up for Young Children in Foster Care

This week, Groundwork attended and provided testimony at the Foster Care Forum in Columbus hosted by Governor DeWine's Children Services Transformation Advisory Council. The Foster Care Forum provided foster care youth, parents, advocates, agencies and others involved in the foster care system with the opportunity to provide feedback and stories to aid the Council as they develop their policy recommendations for foster care reform in Ohio.

"The state of Ohio must be visionary in its leadership when considering the transformation of the foster care system," said Lynanne Gutierrez, Policy Director and Legal Counsel for Groundwork Ohio. "Our systems and the children we serve face many crises and we, for good reason, spend a lot of time and resources focusing on the crisis itself and a response to that snapshot in time for the child and their family. If we are going to be truly transformative, however, we must not only acknowledge and respond to the crisis moments but shift our mindset to how we prevent crisis altogether and focus on the outcomes we desire for all kids in our community."


Groundwork Kicks Off New Year with New Advisory Committee​

We recently announced our new Groundwork Advisory Committee Members, but we wanted to make sure you did not miss our recent announcement because we are so excited to have such a great group of new and returning Members!

These Members are trusted to provide insights on the needs of young children and families in Ohio and advance Groundwork’s mission to champion high-quality early learning and healthy development strategies. The Committee members listed below have a total of 779 years in combined experience and represent 62 Ohio counties.

Congratulations to all of our new and returning members! We are excited to start the new year with this strong, passionate, and diverse group of early learning and health experts.


Ohio Makes Headlines for its Significant Increase in Uninsured Children Under the Age of 6​

Once again, Ohio and Groundwork made headlines this week in response to the recent Georgetown University Center for Children and Families report, "Nation's Youngest Children Lose Health Coverage at an Alarming Rate." The report shows that nationwide, the rate of uninsured children under the age of 6 has significantly increased since 2016. This increase comes as a surprise after years of steady decrease in the number of children who are uninsured. In this week's Columbus Dispatch article, Groundwork Executive Director Shannon Jones commented on how Ohio needs to take the steps necessary to ensure that no child under the age of 6 goes uninsured during one of the most important times of a child's development.


Now Open: RFP for Quality Infrastructure Grants​

As you will recall during our state budget process earlier this year, we were able to secure $10 million in Quality Infrastructure Grants to go to local communities to ensure that we continue to make progress and deliver upon our statutory mandates around quality (all programs must be a 1-star by June 2020 and highly rated, 3-5 star by 2025). As a member of the Early Childhood Advisory Council, Groundwork was able to participate in the committee that helped mold the Request for Grant Applications (RFGA) writing process. Read the full press release from the Ohio Department of Job & Family Services. The RFGA is now available for stakeholders to apply.

Thank you once again to all the incredible advocates who supported Groundwork's efforts with meetings, calls, postcards, and testimony to ensure this funding opportunity was included in the FY20-21 budget!


Let's Make Young Children a Top Priority for the Presidential Candidates...​

As you may know, the 7th Democratic primary debate is next Tuesday, January 14th from 9 PM - 11 PM EST.

Similar to previous debates, Groundwork will participate in a Twitter chat and debate “watch party” where we’ll be live-tweeting about children’s issues. As we work to put the early learning and healthy development of Ohio’s youngest children front and center for local, state, and federal policymakers, this is a great opportunity to elevate these issues and get the candidates focusing on young children!

Here’s how you can get involved individually or on behalf of an organization

  1. Post about early childhood issues on social media in advance of the debate... and be sure to tag the moderators and candidates to grab their attention.

  2. Watch the debate live on CNN (or stream it on on Tuesday, January 14th and post any comments or quotes related to issues facing young children--just be sure to tag the candidates and use the hashtags #DemDebate and #WeCareDebate! (A list of candidate Twitter handles is available below)

  • Media Hosts: @CNN @DMRegister

  • Moderators: @wolfblitzer @abbydphillip @brianneDMR

  • Qualified Candidates (as of January 9th): @JoeBiden @BernieSanders @ewarren @amyklobuchar @PeteButtigieg

We hope you’ll join us in engaging in and following along on Twitter during debate coverage!


Registration is Now Open: Ohio Early Childhood Conference​

Registration is now open for the Ohio Association for Educating Young Children's (OAEYC) Ohio Early Childhood Conference April 23 - 25 at Kalahari Resorts in Sandusky, Ohio. During the conference, you will have the opportunity to connect with fellow early childhood professionals and experts, attend learning sessions, receive professional development credits, enjoy the resort's amenities, and so much more! In addition to all of the great learning experiences and networking opportunities during the conference, you will not want to miss the keynote speakers! The keynote speakers include:

  • Deshauna Barber - Miss America, Captain in the U.S. Army and Diversity Champion

  • Gerry Brooks - YouTube Star and Educational Leader

  • Greg & Steve - Music Legends

  • Steve Gross - Chief Playmaker, Life is Good

Registration rates increase on February 22nd - so be sure to register soon! Also, Groundwork will be in attendance during the conference - please stop by and say hi!

While you are waiting for the conference, you are also invited to attend the OAEYC Power to the Profession Network conference call on January 17th from 1 - 3 pm! The conference call is for early childhood educators to connect and provide insight on how early educators can amplify their voices to bring awareness of the issues faced in the profession and to provide support to fellow early educators. There is no cost to participate in the conference call. Register for the conference call here.


State Library of Ohio Releases New Interactive Tool for Families with Young Children

The State Library of Ohio recently announced the launch of the Day By Day Ohio Family Literacy Calendar website by the State Library of Ohio. Day By Day Ohio is a tool that families, caregivers, educators, and librarians can use at home, at the library, on the go, and in the classroom. With a perpetual calendar featuring songs, activities, book suggestions, and videos, Day By Day Ohio offers resources to further develop early literacy skills that help young children prepare for, and to do better in, school. Children enjoy fun, positive learning experiences like Day by Day Ohio that support school success and, ultimately, lifelong learning.

Day by Day Ohio is a service of the State Library of Ohio and is funded in part by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services. Images from Library Mouse and Library Mouse: A Friend's Tale © Daniel Kirk are used with permission for the Day By Day Ohio website only.


Opportunity to Advocate for Young Children in Washington D.C.​

Child Care Aware of America is offering family advocates an opportunity to fly to Washington D.C. to attend their annual symposium on Monday, May 4 through Wednesday, May 6th. During the symposium, family advocates will have the opportunity to network with fellow family advocates and early childhood professionals, build advocacy skills, and meet with lawmakers. Child Care Aware of America will provide selected family advocates with scholarships to cover travel, room, and board. The scholarship application is open until next Friday, January 17th. Applications will go through a review panel and will announce selected applicants in late January.

If you would like to apply for a scholarship or know of anyone who would be interested in applying, please reach out to your local child care resource and referral agency or the Ohio Child Care Resource and Referral Association (OCCRRA) for more information or email with any questions.


New 2020 Census Community Outreach Funding Opportunity​

The Columbus Counts: 2020 Census Grants application is live! Mayor Andrew Ginther is providing funding to support local, community-based organizations in getting out the 2020 Census count in Columbus and Franklin County. The City's goal is to ensure every resident in Columbus and Franklin County is counted, especially individuals from traditionally HTC communities. This funding will be distributed through a mini-grant process administered by the United Way of Central Ohio. Each organization will receive a grant to implement Census activities that educate and organize their HTC community around the Census.

Applications are due by January 27 at 12pm. Applicant organizations are to be local community organizations (non-profits are preferred; for-profit entities with significant community experience will be considered on a case by case basis). The program accepts grant requests up to $7,500. For technical support, please email

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