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Expanding Access to Early Childhood Mental Health Services

In an effort to further support the health and wellbeing of Ohio's youngest children, Governor DeWine recently announced grant awards to expand early childhood mental health services across the state. Early childhood mental health (ECMH) refers to the social, emotional and behavioral wellbeing of young children and their families, including the ability to understand and express emotions, form healthy attachments, and feel confident exploring their environment.

As children mature, early childhood mental health supports growth in other essential areas of development including physical health, cognitive skills, language and literacy, social skills and readiness for school.

  • Kids who exhibit strong social and emotional skills are 54% more likely to earn a high school diploma.

  • Kids who share or are helpful in kindergarten are 46% more likely to have a full-time job at the age of 25

Through the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities, and the Governor’s Office of Children’s Initiatives, nearly $1 million in grants were awarded to 12 mental health providers across the state. This large investment will allow more families to access mental health services for their young children during one of the most crucial times of brain development. To learn more about the awards, check out the Governor's press release.


Highlighting Local Success – Kiddie Academy of Downtown Columbus​

All over the state, organizations like yours are doing amazing things to support young children and families in an effort to make Ohio the best place to be a child. In this week's newsletter, we wanted to highlight a recent success story from one organization that is providing families not only with child care services but also other family programs to ensure healthy development for young children.

This week, Kiddie Academy of Downtown Columbus announced they are now officially open! Not only will this new program provide high-quality child care for young children, but starting this spring they will also provide families with a host of additional support services and opportunities. Within the 27,000 square-foot center, families will have access to trauma-informed early educators, doulas, lactation specialists, childbirth education classes (pre & postnatal), parenting classes, a library and technology center, a licensed registered nurse, a large 2-story indoor play space, and more! All of the services provided by the Academy aim to foster positive parent-child relationships and create pathways to success for families.

Congratulations to Groundwork Advisory Committee member Carol Haynes on this exciting new location and the wonderful support for families in Columbus!

Is your organization interested in sharing a recent success story in our newsletter? Email Julia Jackels at for more details.


Upcoming Report Assessing Teacher Prep in Ohio​

On Monday, January 27th, the National Council on Teacher Quality, a nonpartisan research and policy organization, is releasing a new nation-wide report assessing the quality of each state's teacher prep programs. The report, NCTQ 2020 Teacher Prep Review, was created by expert analysts to review the quality of preparation teacher prep programs provide to aspiring teachers. One area of focus in the report is the quality of preparation in early reading instruction. We hope you are as excited as we are to see Ohio's rating... spoiler alert: we hear Ohio programs are making BIG progress! Be sure to check our social media on Monday and our newsletter next week for a link to the report once it is released!


Strolling Thunder is Back!​

On May 5, babies & families from all 50 states & the District of Columbia will descend on Capitol Hill for ZERO TO THREE’s annual national Strolling Thunder event! The families will meet with their Members of Congress to remind them to invest in their youngest constituents.

We need your help! Do you know a family from Ohio with a paid leave and/or child care story who would be excited to travel to Washington, DC with their baby or toddler to urge Congress to be champions for babies?

There is no experience necessary & ZERO TO THREE will cover all travel costs for a parent, their children under age three, & an adult travel companion to assist with child care. They’ll also provide guidance, training, & support to families before, during & after their trip.

If you know a family who may be interested (with an emphasis on families from Congressmen Wenstrup, Stivers or Latta's districts), please have them fill out this interest form by Friday, February 7: If you or they have any questions, please read ZERO TO THREE’s FAQ or feel free to contact ZERO TO THREE will follow up with everyone who expresses interest by late March to let them know if they have been selected.

Help us make babies’ potential a national priority by sharing with your networks! Stay tuned for many more opportunities to urge your policymakers to Think Babies & Act!


Now Open: Register for Annual Literacy Academy​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!

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