In Greater Cleveland, many families with young children experience obstacles that impact their ability to thrive. These include housing insecurity, uncertain childcare, unstable income, child development concerns, and social isolation.
The FamilySpace initiative’s early success shows that families with young children are looking for safe spaces to come together. There is a need for this supportive environment where families can gather and program staff can help parents connect to local resources.
Designed for children through age five and their families and caregivers, FamilySpace provides safe and fun spaces for kids to play and learn, and for their families to come together to share information and hear about helpful, free services that are available to them.
FamilySpace is a preventative, place-based strategy for Cuyahoga County families with children ages birth through five, funded through a generous investment from Cuyahoga County’s Invest in Children and United Way of Greater Cleveland. The program is run in partnership with Cuyahoga County Public Libraries, Cleveland Public Libraries, and Family Connections.
In 2022, four inaugural FamilySpace locations opened in libraries in Garfield Heights, South Euclid/Lyndhurst, Carnegie West, and Hough. And since then, over 1,000 adults and nearly 1,400 children have attended FamilySpace sessions.
Each FamilySpace location consists of these core components:
- Family-friendly spaces, materials, and activities designed to meet the needs of families
- Onsite trained professional staff, during program hours
- Referrals to services and resources such as job training, early childhood mental health services, and more
- A neighborhood-based Family Advisory Committee that guides the programming to meet family interests and needs
United Way of Greater Cleveland’s Economic Mobility – Early Childhood Development and partner programs seek to ensure that children are prepared for kindergarten and have the tools to thrive throughout their educational journeys. Learn more about our Community Hub grantee partners for Early Childhood Development by clicking here.