January 12, 2016

$1 million allocated by State of Ohio to expand SPARK kindergarten readiness program

The Early Childhood Resource Center in Canton, Ohio, today announced that the SPARK kindergarten readiness program will receive $1 million in state funding over two years. Funds will go through the Early Childhood Resource Center, which handles SPARK management and operations. 

The state’s funding commitment will allow SPARK to serve even more Ohio families, including:

  • In Stark County: $400,000 from the state funds, along with $1.06 million in recently committed funding from a local collaborative funding effort, will increase the number of Stark County families served per year from 600 to nearly 1,000 over a six-year period.
  • Outside of Stark County: $400,000 will be allocated to existing SPARK sites (in Summit, Franklin, Hamilton, Cuyahoga, Clarke, Montgomery, Pickaway and Darke counties ), based on the prorated number of children each site served in 2015. An additional 750 families will be served with this funding.

In addition, $200,000 of the state funding will be used to help get three new SPARK sites up and running, in southeast Ohio and in Ashland and Ottawa counties.

With its increased funding, SPARK expects to serve more than 1,700 Ohio families in 2016. 

“On behalf of Ohio's families, the Early Childhood Resource Center is truly grateful for all of SPARK's supporters and advocates,” said Scott Hasselman, executive director of the Early Childhood Resource Center. 

A ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System, the Early Childhood Resource Center works to promote the healthy development of young children by: strengthening families, improving the quality of early learning experiences, increasing school and community readiness, and informing public policy.  

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From its Cleveland headquarters, the Sisters of Charity Health System provides oversight, leadership and strategic direction to more than 20 organizations responding to community needs in Canton and Cleveland, Ohio, and South Carolina.

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