This week, the Groundwork Advisory Committee met for our first meeting of 2020. While some faces were familiar, we also welcomed many new members to the group this year! During the meeting, Groundwork provided an overview of the great things we have in store for the upcoming year and heard from members about the activities they have planned in their communities. We were also fortunate to participate in an implicit bias training facilitated by the Kirwan Institute For The Study Of Race And Ethnicity. (Interested in learning more about the Kirwan Institute's trainings? Check out their website.) There are a lot of BIG things in the works at Groundwork and all over the state to support Ohio's youngest learners. We can't wait to share them with you in the coming weeks... stay tuned!
Governor DeWine Prioritizes Children in Foster Care
Over the past year, Governor DeWine has made it a priority to evaluate and address the current issues faced by children, parents, caregivers, foster parents, caseworkers, and others involved in the foster care system. As such, Governor DeWine tasked the Children Services Transformation Advisory Council with hosting regional foster care forums to gain further insight into what is and is not working well in the foster care system. During the regional meeting in Columbus, Groundwork Policy Director & Legal Council Lynanne Gutierrez provided testimony on the dire need to recognize the unique experiences of infants and toddlers in the system and the ways we can reach children early to improve long-term outcomes. This week, the Council submitted their initial findings report, which included all of the information gathered at the regional events. In the report, the Council calls out that many of the issues faced by children in foster care can be prevented by supporting children ages prenatal to three--before they even enter the foster care system. Specifically, the report states that attendees at the regional forms highlighted the following areas of need:
The development of prevention strategies informed by child development and brain science.
The elevation of prenatal-to-3 prevention and early intervention efforts.
The creation of a multi-system youth service model that recognizes the need to have shared accountability with other child-serving systems in Ohio.
We are looking forward to hearing more about how Governor DeWine plans to utilize these findings to improve child outcomes.
Preventing Child Lead Poisoning
The Ohio Lead Free Kids Coalition unveiled its 9-point action plan on how to move toward lead-free children by 2030 at their statehouse event this week. During the event, we were able to hear from lead-prevention leaders on how critical it is to shift more attention to preventing lead poisoning instead of catching lead poisoning after it has already occurred. In The Ohio Action Plan for Lead-Free Children, the coalition calls for the following prevention measures:
Help Homeowners & Landlords Eliminate Lead Hazards
Make Rental Housing Lead-Safe
Protect Children from Lead During Renovation & Demolition
Disclose Lead Hazards & Engage Ohioans
Empower Schools & Early Learning Programs to Keep Children Lead Safe
Remove Lead from Drinking Water
Build a Strong Lead Workforce
Research New Ways to Protect Children from Lead
Improve Supports for Children Exposed to Lead
We are proud to be a part of the Ohio Lead Free Kids Coalition and hope that leaders will utilize this plan to make Ohio a safe, lead-free environment for children.
Now Open: Register for Annual Literacy AcademyRegistration 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!