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Statewide Coalition Launches Early Childhood Opportunities (New America Magazine)

By Depa Uwadiae

A statewide coalition led by Groundwork Ohio has launched Ready, Set, Soar Ohio, a new initiative to ensure that more pregnant women, infants, toddlers and their families have access to the support they need to soar to their full potential.

“Ready, Set, Soar Ohio was developed by multi-sector stakeholders to build awareness about the importance of the earliest years of a child’s life,” said Shannon Jones, executive director of Groundwork Ohio.

“Through our research we found one fundamental truth: Our greatest opportunity to close gaps, whether in health or educational outcomes, is where they begin — during the first three years of a child’s life when 80 percent of brain growth is happening.”

Ready, Set, Soar Ohio’s core initiatives include:

  • Ensure pregnant women, infants, toddlers and their families have access to healthcare, developmental

  • Empower parents of infants and toddlers by increasing access to voluntary evidence-based home visiting services and fostering economic stability.

  • Expand access to quality publicly funded childcare for infants and toddlers by increasing eligibility to 200% FPL.

  • Ensure that infants and toddlers have access to high-quality learning environments, staffed by qualified and well-compensated educators, where programs meet their unique needs.     

Some members of the coalition include YWCA Columbus, American Academy of Pediatrics,  Center for Community Solutions, Summit Education Initiative, Invest in Children/Cuyahoga County Office of Early Childhood, 4C for Children and Learning Grove.


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