COLUMBUS, Ohio (WDTN) – The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) Office of Child Support will receive $2 million in federal grant funding to expand a program that educates teenagers about the emotional, financial, and legal realities of parenthood.
According to a release, program activities are designed to promote economic mobility, build healthy relationship skills, teach parenting skills, reduce unplanned pregnancies, prevent relationship violence, and enhance life skills.
“This project will connect peer educators and other experts to youth and young adults who aren’t yet parents, by helping them make plans, access resources, and take steps needed to become the parents they hope to be,” said ODJFS Director Matt Damschroder. “It promotes responsible parenting while encouraging young people to delay parenting until they’re financially and emotionally stable and in a committed relationship.”
The three-year demonstration grant project, called “Charting a Course for Economic Mobility and Responsible Parenting,” is managed by the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement. In Ohio, the funding will be used to implement the “No Kidding Ohio” curriculum, a three-day training that uses peer educators to share their experiences as young parents.
The program will be offered initially in Gallia and Lucas counties, as a result of funding awarded in September 2020. The funding announced in July 2021 will allow it to be offered in Franklin, Ashtabula, and Perry counties, as well. At the end of the grant period, evaluation results will be made available, and all five counties will share their lessons learned with other county child support agencies across the state.