The Franklin County commissioners this morning voted to accept a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to operate a three-year program to address economic mobility and responsible parenting with teens and young adults. The county’s Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) will administer the grant and provide instruction using the No Kidding Ohio
curriculum to promote economic mobility, build parenting and healthy relationship skills, reduce unplanned pregnancies, and prevent relationship violence.
“Each of us commissioners has kids and we know that, even in the best of circumstances, parenting can be really tough. For young people who are still figuring themselves and their relationships out, and who might not yet have a career or other resources to fall back on, it’s even more difficult,” said Board of Commissioners President Erica C. Crawley. “And once you’ve started a family, it can be even tougher to get ahead, so with this program, we aim to help give young people the tools and confidence they need to thrive.”
In addition to material from child support experts, the program will use a peer-to-peer approach, employing young parents to augment its lessons with their own first-hand experience. It will include a social media and digital marketing campaign to further the message and reach teens and young adults with the knowledge, skills, and resources that will help them achieve their goals, move up the ladder of economic mobility, and to be successful, responsible parents.
“Nobody is born knowing how to be a good parent, just as nobody is born knowing how to get ahead in life,” said Commissioner John O’Grady. “It takes time and some help along the way to develop those skills, but not everyone has a good mentor who can help with that. With this grant, we’ll be able to connect young people with support and information so that they can do the best for their own young families.”
Franklin County’s teen birth rate is more than twice the state and national averages, with 41.6 births per 1,000 women aged 15-19. The grant will fund two full-time positions in CSEA, which will partner with several other county and community agencies to provide a full suite of wrap-around services to the program participants.
“The transition into adulthood can be a really tough time for many young people. They’re dealing with the demands of school or the workforce, and sometimes both, and they may be responsible for their own finances for the first time in their lives,” said Commissioner Kevin L. Boyce. “This is an important time in our residents’ lives and this grant is an opportunity for the county to help set them on the right path for success in the future.”
The new program will be stood up over the course of the next year, with programing set to begin in the fall of 2023. The full text of the commissioners’ resolution is available online here