$48 million awarded for kindergarten readiness

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 24, 2023

COLUMBUS —Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced this week that the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services will receive $48 million in federal grant dollars over the next three years to support and increase access to quality early childhood care and education.

The Preschool Development Grant – Birth to Five comes from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.

“The largest group of Ohioans living in poverty are children aged five 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 childcare, public preschools, early intervention and home visiting that form a strong foundation for successful learning.”

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ODJFS is partnering with the Ohio Departments of Education; Health; Mental Health and Addiction Services; Medicaid; and Developmental Disabilities to administer the grant programs which will focus on:

• Increasing access and family engagement in early childhood care and education

• Expanding of child care for those with special needs, English language learners, and those experiencing homelessness.

• Creating long-term and sustainable local, state, and federal funding for early childhood education programs.

• Expanding marketing and outreach to increase family awareness of their potential eligibility and access to child care options.

• Preparing early childhood care and education professionals with culturally appropriate trauma training, credentialing, and parent supports.

• Making sure family members and other caretakers are key partners in grant activities, policy development, and new initiatives.

“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.”

The grant application details are available at https://jfs.ohio.gov/cdc/Preschool-Development-Grant-B-5-2019.stm.