When Groundwork Ohio was established fifteen years ago to support the early care and education needs of our youngest children and their families, no one ever imagined the significant pain and trauma they would be experiencing today brought on by COVID-19.
Like you, the Groundwork team has been adjusting to unfathomable change, at lightning speed, while also trying to take care of our own families in this new work-from-home paradigm. As the stress levels increased on a daily basis, along with an occasional assist by internet streaming services to entertain children in our care, we embraced the mantra of Anna from Disney’s Frozen 2 to get us through each grueling challenge: “All one can do is the next right thing.”
With each day bringing more mind-boggling and seemingly insurmountable obstacles that needed immediate attention, Groundwork’s small but mighty team, not surprisingly, rose to this extraordinary moment in service to kids and families. Webinars, surveys, virtual meetings and social media efforts were all on overdrive.
Throughout the past three months, thousands of Ohioans have been engaged in our critical work in this short period of time unified by the common purpose to do the next right thing for children. Groundwork has worked tirelessly to elevate their voices--and the needs of our youngest children--to our state and federal policymakers.
As I reflect on the last ten weeks (that some days feels like ten years) in order to pivot our work to meet the growing needs of Ohio’s young children in this dramatically different environment, I wanted to share a snapshot of these recent efforts. While we continue to navigate uncertainty, I can promise this… Groundwork will always endeavor to do the next right thing for Ohio’s youngest and most vulnerable children. A global pandemic will never change that.
Thank you for your continued support of Groundwork and our mission to prioritize high-quality early learning and healthy development strategies from the prenatal period to age five that lay a strong foundation for Ohio kids, families and communities. Your confidence in us will not be misplaced as we strive to rebuild child serving systems to truly meet the needs of our young children and families.
P.S. You can access our full impact report here.
ICYMI: Accessing Preventative Healthcare Toolkit and Recorded Webinars
On Wednesday, we released a new toolkit in partnership with American Academy of Pediatrics - Ohio Chapter, Children's Defense Fund - Ohio, and Ready, Set, Soar Ohio to provide professionals who work with children and families with the tools needed to promote the need for preventative health care. In this toolkit you will find seven strategies to keeps children safe and healthy, a sample letter to send to families, and social media posts with graphics to share. In addition to releasing the toolkit, we hosted a webinar to delve into why preventative care is crucial to their health and safety more now than ever. You can watch a recording of the webinar and access resources from the webinar by clicking here.
Also this week, we hosted a roundtable discussion on child care with Congressman Steve Stivers and State Senator Stephanie Kunze. During this discussion, we had an all-star panel of child care experts share their stories demonstrating what they are experiencing on the ground. Watch the webinar and access the shared resources here.
New Grant Opportunity and Guidance for Child Care Providers
Yesterday afternoon, the Ohio Department of Job & Family Services released the new grant program aimed to provide child care providers with financial support as they begin to reopen their child care programs. This grant program is available to both child care centers and family child care homes. Additionally, the JFS coronavirus page for child care providers now has updated guidance and resources for providers to utilize. In particular, the "Child Care Rules and Best Practices" document outlines the mandatory rules that child care programs will need to adhere to while also providing guidance on best practices to consider.
Two weeks ago, the US House passed the HEROES Act, which includes $7 billion for child care relief. But we know this is not nearly enough to stabilize the child care system in Ohio and across the nation.
Please join us in tweeting at our Senator Brown and Senator Portman today to ask that they make child care a top priority during their conversations about the stimulus package in the US Senate. It only takes a few clicks to send your pre-drafted message.
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