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Ensuring Children and Youth Succeed Impact Council United Way of Central Ohio’s Funding of Early Childhood Care and Education Services Background United Way of Central Ohio (UWCO) is committed to work with other community partners to increase the quality, quantity, accessibility and affordability of early childhood care and education. These services contribute to the achievement of the community result of increasing the percentage of children who enter kindergarten ready to succeed in school. Research has demonstrated that the first years of life are critical to a child’s lifelong development, affecting language and cognitive development as well as social and emotional development. In addition, studies have shown that high quality environments in the first few years of life improve children’s ability to learn. UWCO’s commitment to early childhood care and education services is demonstrated by its annual funding of ongoing programs and services, its leadership with the Start Smart initiative and its involvement with other early childhood community projects. UWCO recognizes that its financial investment in early childhood care and education, while a substantial part of the overall UWCO community investment, is small with respect to the total funding (public and service fees) that support this system in central Ohio. For this reason, UWCO needs to direct it resources in an intentional and focused manner, in ways that complement the efforts of other funding sources, providers and stakeholders. United Way’s Role UWCO views its role with early childhood services at two levels: at the community level and at the United Way system level. At the broader community level, UWCO will support efforts that increase the capacity, quality and effectiveness of the broad array of early childhood services and will support advocacy and public policy efforts that enhance resources and services for young children and their families. UWCO will use its resources (financial and other) to leverage community support for early childhood care and education. At the United Way system level, UWCO will provide financial support for the ongoing operation of selected high quality early childhood care and education programs through its competitive program investment process. Because resources are limited, UWCO will target its funding to programs using the following guidelines along with approved program investment criteria:

Programs fully meet and maintain UWCO quality standards;

Programs serve children and families with clearly identified and well-documented needs. This could include serving a high percentage (at least 80 - 85%) of children from low-income families, serving children and families in neighborhoods with limited early childhood resources, or serving children from immigrant families;

Programs document a compelling need for financial support from United Way;

Programs maximize available public and private resources (financial and other) to establish and maintain high quality services; and

Programs maintain enrollment at a minimum of 85% of capacity and promote regular attendance.

In reviewing funding requests, UWCO volunteers and staff may consider market rates of care, program hours of service, other sources of funding, cost per hour of service, teacher/child ratios, teacher qualifications and experience, salary rates for lead teachers, turnover rates among staff, program enrollment and attendance data, and whether the program provides full day or part day services. UWCO will also consider what is a reasonable investment by UWCO, per space of child care, or other metrics deemed to be an appropriate measure by United Way. UWCO recognizes the importance of continuity and stability in funding for early childhood care and education programs. This factor will be taken into consideration in UWCO’s program investment process. All programs that are successful in receiving financial support for early childhood care and education services will be expected to follow UWCO performance measure reporting requirements and maintain quality standards. Approved by the Ensuring Children and Youth Succeed Impact Council, Sept., 2008

Education Vision Council  
Education Vision Council  

UWCO views its role with early childhood services at two levels: at the community level and at the United Way system level. United Way of C...