Grant Application Entries
Redwood School and Rehabilitation Center, Inc.
71 Orphanage Road
Fort Mitchell, Kentucky 41017
Early Care and Education Program
Oliver, born with spina bifida, is an example of a child who has benefited from our Early Care and Education childcare and preschool program for children with and without disabilities.
Oliver’s progress was slow at first. But Oliver and Redwood’s caring staff persisted. He spent months doing “tummy time” before being able lift his head, roll over, and crawl. While Oliver was in our toddler classrooms, Redwood’s Assistive Technology Resource Center loaned his family a walker, so they could ensure this walker was right for Oliver before buying it. Redwood’s nurses helped Oliver in his classroom so he could participate alongside other children.
Pleased with his progress, Oliver’s mother told us, “…I’m hoping that 10 years from now, we can bring him back to Redwood and he’ll walk the halls and see his old teachers, and they’ll be able to say, ‘We knew you could do it.’”
Stories like Oliver’s are common in our Early Care and Education program. Here, we provide childcare and preschool for children with and without disabilities. We also provide support services onsite such as occupational, physical and speech therapy, early intervention services and assistive technology support. Because these services are provided in-house at Redwood, parents do not need to leave work to transport their children from Redwood to therapy appointments off site. This reduces stress on the family, resulting in more healthy and stable families.
Many of the children with disabilities have been turned down by other programs due to the severity and complexity of their needs. Common disabilities include cerebral palsy, spina bifida, orthopedic disorders, genetic syndromes, autism, intellectual disabilities, mental health disorders, visual/hearing/tactile impairments, and medical fragility. A number have medical fragility complications such as uncontrolled seizures, degenerative disorders, and conditions that require medical monitoring/treatments throughout the day.
The program is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and has a 4-star rating (on a scale of 1-5) from Kentucky All STARS, the state’s childcare center rating system. Even the lowest 1-star rating exceeds minimum licensure requirements, which places our program in the state’s top tier of early care centers.
The Early Care and Education program serves 200 children a year. Of the cases where economic status is known, approximately 40% of the children we serve come from economically disadvantaged families. The actual number is probably higher, because several families choose not to disclose their economic status to us. Due to the number of low-income families we serve, and due to the financial devastation caused by having a child with severe and multiple disabilities, we are seeking to increase the amount of scholarship funds available to Redwood families who need reduced or no fees for their child to attend the Early Care and Education program.
This program also directly addresses the low rate of preschool readiness in Northern Kentucky, where only 53% of young children are kindergarten-ready.
If awarded a $5,000 grant, all of it will be used toward Early Care and Education program scholarships for low-income families and/or families struggling financially due to their child’s medical bills. A $5,000 grant will be used toward partial scholarships for 5 families in need. The Children’s Services Director will determine the need for scholarships on a case by case basis and distributes the funds accordingly.
All of our services are provided in, or based out of our 86,000 sq ft facility in Fort Mitchell, KY in Kenton County. Most clients come from Kenton, Campbell, and Boone Counties. Combined, these three counties have a population of 385,736. Redwood is close to cities with very high poverty rates such as Covington (23.9% poverty rate) and Newport (31.7%). Although these counties are part of the Cincinnati metro area, they all have a mix of inner city, suburban, and rural areas. Almost all of our remaining clients come from nearby rural areas such as Grant County, which has a higher poverty rate (18.2%) than the state’s poverty rate. In Kenton, Campbell and Boone Counties, approximately 90% of residents are Caucasian, 5% are African American, and 2% are Hispanic.
Redwood has 136 paid staff. We have around 800 volunteers annually.
Redwood is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit located in Fort Mitchell, KY (Kenton County). Our mission to guide children and adults with severe and multiple disabilities to achieve independence and to reach their highest potential by providing enriching educational, therapeutic, and vocational services. To accomplish this goal, we offer the following services:
CHILDREN’S PROGRAMS: The Early Care and Education program offers childcare and preschool for children with and without special needs. The program is nationally accredited (NAEYC) and has an excellent 4-star rating. Embedded in this program is Prescribed Pediatric Extended Care, which helps children with special health care needs stabilize and improve their health while benefiting from typical childhood experiences. We offer after school and summer programs for youth with disabilities.
THERAPEUTIC INTERVENTION: Redwood makes therapy (speech, physical, occupational) available to children and adults. We offer Northern Kentucky’s only Assistive Technology Resource Center, where we provide equipment loans, demonstrations, and training in the use of technology devices that facilitate daily living and communication.
ADULT DAY SUPPORTS help adults with disabilities and medical fragility achieve skills and improve quality of life through social interaction and community experiences.
VOCATIONAL SUPPORTS, provides employment related services to adults with disabilities.
When Redwood was founded in 1953, it was legal to deny disabled children access to public schools. That year, we provided education to 7 children in a borrowed room in a church basement. Many legal barriers have been removed since 1953. However, people with disabilities and their families still face informal barriers. Approximately 40% of our childcare and preschool families are low-income, and almost all of our families with a disabled child are affected financially.
Redwood is still positioned to address this need despite COVID-19 temporarily shutting down 17 of our 20 programs. Redwood received emergency grants, the Boone, Kenton and Campbell County Fiscal Courts committed to paying Redwood the same rate they would have been paying under normal circumstances, we received a Paycheck Protection Program loan, and we can now be reimbursed for therapy services conducted via Zoom (and we are looking to expand our tele-therapy services). Our children’s programs resumed operations on June 15th and the Summer Program opened on June 15th as well. We are gradually re-opening our adult programs.
However, many of our Early Care and Education program families have been and continue to be negatively affected by COVID-19 due to sudden unemployment and/or household income reductions. This is the context in which we are seeking a $5,000 grant in order to assist the Kentucky families we serve.
As mentioned previously, approximately 40% of the children in our childcare and preschool come from low-income families and having a child with disabilities can be financially devastating for even middle-class families. Even though we did not charge our childcare and preschool families any fees to hold their spots during the COVID-19 closure (unlike most for-profit centers), many families still depend on our ability to provide scholarships in order to continue benefiting from our program. We do not want to turn anyone away who needs scholarship assistance.
We are aware of three other organizations in Northern Kentucky who provide services to people living with disabilities.
Of the three other organizations in Northern Kentucky, two serve only adults and none of them offer the comprehensive range of services that we do. Also, we operate Northern Kentucky’s only Assistive Technology Resource Center. “Assistive technology” is any item, equipment, software, or system used to maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities. The ATRC has approximately 1,400 assistive technology devices and rents out around 1,000 of them annually. Examples of the many items our ATRC library lends for a nominal fee include adapted toys for play and high-tech dynamic display communication devices that give a voice to those who cannot communicate verbally.
With these devices, our goal is to help individuals with significant physical limitations to do things they otherwise would not be able to do. Although our ATRC serves people of all ages, many of our rentals go to families who have a child ages birth to three years old. Because so much brain growth occurs in this age range, our assistive technology devices play a vital role in their development.
Furthermore, many organizations have one or more of the following credentials:
• National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Accreditation;
• Commission for the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF);
• a 4-star rating from Kentucky’s Quality Rating System (Kentucky All STARS) for childcare centers;
• a licensed childcare;
• An Adult Day Health Care license;
• A Rehabilitation Center license;
• A Prescribed Pediatric Extended Care license; and
• A United Way honor as “Meets Expectations with Distinction” in 2013.
But to our knowledge, Redwood is the only Northern Kentucky organization retaining all of these distinctions.
Our goal is to distribute all scholarship funds within 6 months of the grant award. In terms of our services, we strive to meet the following targets:
1) 85% of children participating for a program year are assessed as age-appropriate in social and emotional development or met individualized service plan goals.
2) 85% of children participating for a program year are assessed as age-appropriate in cognitive and language skills or met individualized service plan goals; and
3) 85% of children enrolled for at least 6 months demonstrate progress in the attainment of fine and gross motor skills.
We almost always meet or exceed these goals.
We will continue to seek grants for scholarships. Toyota has provided support for scholarships over the past three years and we will submit additional requests to them.
The Early Care and Education program is an ongoing program. Funding sources for the Early Care and Education program and for Redwood as a whole include government fees and grants, the United Way of Greater Cincinnati; the fiscal courts of Kenton, Campbell, and Boone Counties; donations; special event proceeds; and grants. These are expected to be funding sources into the foreseeable future.
However, before COVID, government funds have been stagnant or reduced and, like other local nonprofits, we had experienced a 20% reduction in support from the United Way of Greater Cincinnati. Then, we began our new fiscal year on July 1st under great financial stress. The United Way sent us a payment several months early in March, but this means the payment will not be available in December like it would have been normally. We are facing a large potential unemployment expense due to the furlough of more than 100 employees. Redwood is self-insured for unemployment claims.
To close the gap between income and expenses, and to offer our families special opportunities such as scholarships, we depend on the generosity of the community to serve children and young adults who, in many cases, cannot realistically be served anywhere else due to the number and extent of their needs.
Fees are as follows for our early care programs:
NURSERY CHILD CARE: $106/week for 2 days a week; $141/week for 3 days a week; $200/week for 5 days a week:
TODDLER CHILD CARE: $103/week for 2 days a week; $134/week for 3 days a week; $190/week for 5 days a week:
PRESCHOOL CHILD CARE: $100/week for 2 days a week; $131/week for 3 days a week; $180/week for 5 days a week:
Redwood received a $5,000 grant in 2018. This grant was used toward scholarships for the Early Care and Education program. We awarded scholarships to four low-income families to help them cover their costs.