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Franklin County Job and Family Services

Franklin County Receives National Award for Child Care Outreach Initiative

Calling All Dads Partnership with NCUS Engages Fathers in Early Learning
Columbus, Ohio – Franklin County’s Calling All Dads initiative has been recognized with an Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties (NACo). The award honors innovative, effective county government programs in the category of children and youth.
The Calling All Dads initiative is a partnership between Franklin County Department of Job and Family Services and the National Center for Urban Solutions (NCUS). Launched in February 2020, the initiative creates opportunities for fathers to engage in promoting the importance of high-quality, star-rated child care.

“The first three years are so vital for a child’s development, but there’s a harmful misperception that fathers – especially African American fathers – aren’t or don’t want to be part of that,” Deputy Franklin County Administrator Joy Bivens said. “‘Calling All Dads’ turned that perception on its head, training hundreds of dads to be early learning ambassadors for this children and communities.”

The initiative takes a multi-pronged approach, providing fathers with early learning tools, partnering with child care centers to better engage fathers in learning; hosting monthly community forums that offer parenting tips; and promoting child care credentialing and employment opportunities. Since its inception, nearly 2,500 Franklin County fathers have signed the “Proud Dad Pledge,” a commitment to be an early learning advocate for their child.

Calling All Dads ambassadors visited more than 240 child care centers last year encouraging them to become star-rated ahead of the state’s Step Up To Quality deadline, with a focus on neighborhoods with some of the highest percentages of children on Publicly Funded Child Care such as the Near East Side, South Side, Linden and Franklinton.

“NCUS understands the importance of programs like this for fathers,” states John H. Gregory, President of the National Center for Urban Solutions (NCUS). “We have long recognized through community engagement that part of breaking the poverty cycle is the involvement of fathers. When fathers are engaged in children’s lives at an early age, they are less likely to become incarcerated, teen parents and are more likely to graduate from high school. Father’s involvement guarantees that children will be better equipped to enter society and we are doing are part to see that families succeed.”

Started in 1970, NACo’s annual Achievement Awards program is designed to recognize county government innovations. Nationally, awards are given in 18 different categories that reflect the vast, comprehensive services counties provide Franklin County was also recognized with a “Best In Category” award by NACo for its Family Stabilization Unit pilot program.

Franklin County will formally present NCUS with the award for Calling All Dads Aug. 11 at a private reception.

The Franklin County Department of Job and Family Services provides timely public assistance benefits and builds community partnership through inclusion, responsiveness and innovation. Learn more at and follow FCDJFS on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube

Founded in 1993 by John H. Gregory, The National Center for Urban Solutions (NCUS) has served the urban community for over 20 years moving individuals mired in the negative impacts of urban poverty to socioeconomic self-sufficiency. Driven by our NCUS model, NCUS has built a national reputation through our “Out of the Box” grassroots philosophy. NCUS core competencies focus on workforce development, education, health and wellness. Through innovative result-driven programs, we have moved over 13,000 individuals off public assistance, up-skilled thousands of African American men to high demand employment and enrolled hundreds of urban youth to obtain their high school diploma. Annually, we engage over 50,000 individuals improving the health disparities affecting African American men in 12 U.S cities.