Ohio childhood care focus of $48M in federal funding

Ohio plans to spend $48 million in federal money to establish grants for early childhood education and early childhood care.

The program, announced Wednesday morning by Gov. Mike DeWine, also plans to make a priority of finding sustainable local, state and federal long-term funding to take the place of the one-time federal dollars.

“The largest group of Ohioans living in poverty are children aged 5 and under,” DeWine said. “This grant allows Ohio to better serve these children by creating stronger cross program coordination and higher quality programming in publicly funded child care, public preschools, early intervention and home visiting that form a strong foundation for successful learning.”

The program focuses on children from birth to age 5 and hopes to expand marketing and outreach to increase awareness of eligibility and child care options. It will provide child care and education professionals with “culturally appropriate trauma training, credentialing, and parent supports,” and concentrate on communicating grant activities, policy developments and new initiatives to family members and other caretakers.

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services is joining with the Ohio departments of education, health, mental health and addiction services, Medicaid and developmental disabilities to administer the grants.

“The plans for this grant are expansive,” ODJFS Director Matt Damschroder said. “It will fund a needs assessment to determine the best way to provide safe and enriching early child care and education for young children with physical disabilities and emotional needs. It will also address workforce needs, family engagement, and the impact of trauma on the mental health of children, all to help them achieve their God-given potential.”

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