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Preschool board plans marketing blitz in March

Published: Friday, February 17, 2017 @ 12:21 PM
Updated: Friday, February 17, 2017 @ 12:18 PM

Dayton’s Preschool Promise effort will provide tuition assistance to families and “quality assistance” to help preschool providers advance in the state’s rating system. JEREMY P. KELLEY / STAFF PHOTO

The local Preschool Promise Board, sprinting toward a fall launch of expanded high-quality preschool in Dayton, will soon begin a large marketing campaign to explain the program to the public.

The big challenge this first year is figuring out how to market a program that’s still in the process of being built, as the deadline for schools and other providers to sign up is still a week away.

“It is a significant lift, and we know it’s critically important,” said Robyn Lightcap, executive director of Learn to Earn Dayton. “We know not all parents understand what preschool options are out there right now. We know there’s a lot of confusion. … and we know we have to build systems to help them.”

RELATED: Thousands of dollars in tuition assistance available to preschool families

The Preschool Promise board approved a large marketing plan this week, including plans to hire a vendor to run a “field campaign” for grassroots outreach in Dayton. Board member and former Dayton mayor Clay Dixon said the marketing approach “is of the utmost importance.”

“That is actually how we’ll go out in the community, shoulder to shoulder, eyeball to eyeball, with the parents to make sure they are aware of the program, aware of what we do to get those kids into one of our quality programs,” Dixon said.

The board’s request for proposals for field campaign vendors is going out this week. Lightcap said the vendor will hire people who know Dayton’s neighborhoods and can build relationships with community partners, all in an effort to connect with the families who would participate in expanded preschool. The income tax increase that Dayton voters approved in November will fund access to high-quality preschool for 4-year-olds in the city.

Lightcap said the key is figuring out who the “key influencers” are in each area, even down to the granular level of which parents moms of young children are listening to.

“It’s not as much knocking on doors (in most cases),” she said. “It’s more about building relationships with the trusted entities in the neighborhood – the churches, the social service agencies, the grocery stores, laundromats, pediatricians.”

RELATED: Preschool board trying to sign up schools, child care centers

Preschool Promise is still signing up schools and other providers this month – both those that are already high-quality, and those willing to work through the state’s quality improvement process. The overall marketing effort will launch in March, including traditional advertising, whether via radio or online, on buses or billboards.

“We need to make sure the community understands the purpose of the program, and make sure that our kiddos in all parts of the city get the quality they deserve,” Preschool Promise board member Jane McGee-Rafal said.

In April, families will be able to sign up their 4-year-old children for the start of the 2017-18 school year next fall, with significant tuition assistance available at approved centers and providers.

Preschool Promise officials said since the expanded program is brand-new, they don’t expect 2017-18 to be a perfect, completed system, with full understanding from parents, and maximum participation from school providers. The income tax increase is estimated to provide $4.3 million per year over eight years, allowing the program to build on itself over time.

The preschool board’s next meeting is March 2, when the group will discuss the budget for the 2017-18 school year.

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Preble County Sheriff’s Office investigates New Paris death 

Published: Wednesday, March 29, 2017 @ 10:17 AM
Updated: Wednesday, March 29, 2017 @ 10:45 AM

UPDATE @ 10:45 a.m. 

County property records show Travis Bourne owns the home where a deceased body was located on Cardinal Hill Drive in New Paris Wednesday morning.  

We are working to learn about this death. 

INITIAL REPORT @ 10:17 a.m. 

NEW PARIS — The Preble County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a death on Cardinal Hill Drive in New Paris. 

The county coroner’s office will perform an autopsy Wednesday morning. 

Check back for more information on this story. 

Newborn found dead in dumpster after mom ends up in ICU

Published: Tuesday, March 28, 2017 @ 12:52 PM

Detroit police on Sunday found the body of a baby girl in a dumpster after the newborn’s mother went to the emergency room bleeding and complaining of stomach pain. 

WDIV reported that medical staff at the hospital transferred the 39-year-old woman to the intensive care unit, where they discovered that she’d recently given birth. She did not have a newborn with her, and neither did her husband, who drove her to the hospital. 

>> Read more trending stories

Officers who went to the couple’s home on Detroit’s east side found the baby’s body in a trash bin behind the house, the news station reported

The woman’s husband told police he did not know she’d given birth. 

MLive.com reported Tuesday morning that the woman remained on a breathing tube in the hospital’s ICU, so investigators had not yet been able to interview her. An autopsy was done Monday on the infant’s body, but the cause of death has not been made public. 

The case remains under investigation. 

Shots fired near U.S. Capitol after woman flees traffic stop, police say

Published: Wednesday, March 29, 2017 @ 10:08 AM
Updated: Wednesday, March 29, 2017 @ 10:39 AM

A woman, center, is taken into custody on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March 29, 2017. Police say a driver struck a U.S. Capitol Police cruiser near the U.S. Capitol and was taken into custody.
Susan Walsh/AP

Officers opened fire on a woman on U.S. Capitol grounds Wednesday morning after she nearly ran over multiple U.S. Capitol Police officers while fleeing from a traffic stop, authorities said.

>> Read more trending stories

No injuries were reported.

Officers spotted a woman driving erratically around 9 a.m. on Independence Avenue and attempted to stop her car, Capitol police spokeswoman Eva Malecki said. The unidentified woman made a U-turn and fled.

She stopped the sedan near the intersection of Washington and Independence avenues, where authorities apparently fired shots at the woman. Malecki declined to say where the bullets landed or how many shots were fired.

The incident did not appear to be related to terrorism.

“This appears to be criminal in nature with no nexus to terrorism,” Malecki said.

What is a baby box and why are some states giving them to new parents?

Published: Wednesday, March 29, 2017 @ 9:59 AM

A newborn baby holds on to her mother's hand a few hours after being born.
Sally Anscombe/Getty Images

This week, Alabama will join two other U.S. states — Ohio and New Jersey — in launching a program that offers free baby boxes to families of newborns in the state.

Here’s what you should know about the boxes, their origin and why states are adopting the program:

What is a baby box and where did the idea come from?

The idea originates from 1930s Finland, when nearly one out of 10 infants died in their first year, according to the New York Times.

The Finnish boxes — which include bedding and nearly 50 other items — are given as an incentive for mothers to see a doctor during pregnancy; to obtain one, expecting mothers had to undergo a medical exam during the first four months.

An average of 40,000 boxes are given to Finland’s mothers-to-be every year.

Today, Finland has one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world — 2.5 for every 1,000 births, according to the Central Intelligence Agency.

Why are U.S. states adopting baby box programs?

The U.S. infant mortality rate — 5.8 for every 1,000 births — is more than double that of Finland.

And according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 3,700 U.S. newborns suffered sudden unexpected infant deaths (SUIDs) in 2015.

One of the big risk factors associated with SUIDs is bed sharing.

When mothers can’t afford cribs, it’s not uncommon for bed sharing to occur.

With the high U.S. infant mortality rate and SUIDs statistics, some states are offering baby boxes to encourage postpartum safe sleep.

Which U.S. states have adopted baby boxes?

New Jersey became the first state to distribute baby boxes to prevent newborn deaths, followed by Ohio and now, Alabama.

California-based Baby Box Co. teamed up with state hospitals, child fatality organizations and other nonprofits to produce and distribute bassinet-sized boxes. 
According to NPR, New Jersey plans to distribute 105,000 boxes; Ohio, 140,000; Alabama, 60,000. 

What exactly is included in a U.S. baby box?

Though the details may differ across states and countries, the laminated cardboard boxes are usually well-built, mobile and come with a foam mattress and fitted sheet.

Often, the boxes will also include a onesie, diapers, wipes and breastfeeding accessories.

While the Finnish boxes were given to expecting mothers if and only if they underwent a medical exam during the first four months, the boxes in the three states are given away for free to families of newborns.

As part of the U.S. program, parents are expected to educate themselves by watching online videos about SIDs and safe sleep and test their knowledge through a short quiz.

"Through education and awareness, people can make better choices and hopefully we can see fewer children dying," Dr. Kathryn McCans, chair of New Jersey's Child Fatality and Near Fatality review board, told NPR.

Is a Safe Haven Baby Box the same as a baby box?

No. The Safe Haven Baby Box refers to a heated and padded incubator that allows new moms a safe way to give up their babies, rather than simply abandoning them.

In 2016, Indiana installed two boxes at fire stations as an extension of the state’s Safe Haven law, which offers parents complete anonymity when giving up an unwanted newborn younger than 45 days without being arrested or prosecuted, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported last year.

Learn more about the new baby boxes at NPR.org.

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