A 5-year plan to improve city for children – Cincinnati.com

Greg Landsman is CEO of the 767 Group and the former executive director of StrivePartnership. He helped to spearhead the successful Cincinnati Preschool Promise and is a candidate for Cincinnati City Council.

We want what’s best for our children, as parents and I believe as a city. I’m convinced we can make Cincinnati a much better place for every child, but the next five years will be critical.

More than five years ago, our second child Elijah was born, and The Enquirer published an op-ed I wrote about his birth, the fact that too many children in our city lack what they need, especially in the critical early years, and the need to make early childhood our “big thing.” Since then, we’ve made progress, and we can and must do even more. In this op-ed, I wrote about the need to expand access to quality preschool and engage parents around early brain development and the importance of reading at home.

A few years later, Every Child Capital, an early literacy fund that I help to manage, invested in books for every child from a lower income family and did so in partnership with pediatricians across the city. Nearly 10,000 children now receive a book each month for the first five years of their lives, and their parents are working more closely with their pediatrician on early learning.

The Cincinnati Preschool Promise passed in November, alongside much-needed funding for our public schools. Preschool programs are now signing up to participate and parents are enrolling their children in quality preschools – and this is happening all over the city. Our preschool expansion focuses on quality preschool, leverages both public and community providers so as to serve as many children as we can, and it’s something we absolutely must get right.

(To sign up as a provider or a parent, visit www.cincy-promise.org or call 513-447-4277 today.)

As a former public school teacher, I know firsthand what a difference these investments make.

This is a big change and real progress, but we have to make the next five years even better.

  • We need to expand access to excellent prenatal care and best practice parent and home support so every expecting mother is engaged early and gets the supports they need.
  • Access to high-quality child care must be a top priority for our region, not just preschool, and we must find a way to invest in these programs so that every working parent can afford the infant and toddler care they need to work and their children need to succeed.
  • Nearly 70 percent of children living in poverty have a parent working, which means that when we get wages up for those parents we can reduce child poverty dramatically.

We can make real progress on wages now through wage enhancement programs and working alongside our employers, and we can begin to invest more in access to prenatal care, parent and home support, and quality child care. These efforts, coupled with work to expand youth employment opportunities and public safety efforts that move more crime and violence away from our children, will allow Cincinnati to become a much better place for families.

This will be the focus of my efforts at City Hall, as they have been the substance of my career in Cincinnati since I moved back home nearly 15 years ago. We can make Cincinnati one of the best places in the country for children and families, but we need the leadership to do it.

I want this for my children, and for every other child in our great city. I believe we can do it.

 

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