Infants and toddlers in Cleveland experience many obstacles that impact their ability to learn and thrive, including poverty, elevated levels of lead, and homelessness (almost half of children in homeless shelters are under the age of six).
According to Zero to Three, a national expert on early childhood development, early stress and lack of positive early experiences undermines key brain development that impacts areas of school readiness and academic success, such as self-regulation and learning, memory and language, and emotional control.
In Cuyahoga County, 42% of kids are not prepared or on-track for kindergarten. This means they are already behind from the moment they walk into a school.
School readiness has effects beyond the first few months of kindergarten; children with higher levels of school readiness at age five are generally more successful in grade school and are less likely to drop out of high school.
FamilySpace will be accessible, neighborhood-based hub of programming, information-sharing, and network-building for families with young children.
FamilySpace is funded through a generous investment from Cuyahoga County’s Invest in Children and United Way of Greater Cleveland. Together, we are partnering with Cuyahoga County Public Libraries, Cleveland Public Libraries, and Family Connections to create FamilySpace.
In 2022, four inaugural FamilySpace locations will open in Garfield Heights, South Euclid Lyndhurst, Carnegie West, and Woodland.
All FamilySpace locations will include family-centered staff, space, and partnerships in recognition of the critical role that health, early learning, parental engagement, and supportive communities play in young children’s growth and development. In addition, parent advisory committees will be formed for each location to provide input and guidance for the FamilySpace program. Based on feedback, these committees may decide to include services, such as technology lending libraries, digital literacy, financial literacy, and parenting classes/support.
United Way of Greater Cleveland is funding four Community Hub grants that are tackling issues related to economic mobility and early childhood education. Learn more about the agencies and their programs: