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One Month Remaining for Ohio's FY 20-21 Budget Deliberations

Ohio’s FY 20-21 Operating Budget Status As of today, we are officially one month away from the start of Fiscal Year 2020 and members of the Ohio General Assembly have continued working long days on the FY 20-21 state operating budget. Since the House passed their version of the budget bill at the beginning of the month, the Senate has been hearing testimony and working to create a substitute bill, which we expect to come out next week. Once the Senate Sub. Bill is created, members will have one more opportunity to submit amendments before they pass the Senate bill. Once the budget bill passes out of the Senate, members of the House, Senate, and Administration will come together in Conference Committee to work toward creating a final bill, which will then need to be passed by the House and Senate and signed by the Governor… all by July 1! As a reminder, here’s where some of our early education programs currently stand in the budget: Evidence-Based Home Visiting The increase in state funding for Help Me Grow evidence-based home visiting to the tune of $50 million additional over the biennium was included in the Governor’s Executive Budget Proposal and remained in the House bill. This includes an additional $20.3 million in FY 20 and an additional $29.3 million in FY 21. This will support the governor’s commitment to triple the number of families served through in evidence-based home visiting statewide. Publicly Funded Child Care The Governor’s Executive Budget Proposal included spending plans for the additional $198 million from the federal Child Care Development Block Grant that passed through Congress in early 2018. The dollars will be used to increase rates for child care providers, which have been woefully low for far too long. Unfortunately, no new state investments in child care were included in the Governor’s budget. This remained the same in the House version of the bill. In an effort to increase investments to support working parents and the healthy development of their children, Groundwork is supporting two amendments that have been proposed in the Senate:

  • A “hold harmless” for child care providers serving children in the 13 counties (Allen, Ashland, Eerie, Preble, Sandusky, Seneca, Auglaize, Belmont, Knox, Ottawa, Portage, Trumbull and Harrison) that will see a rate decrease in the proposed rate update. These 13 counties, mostly rural communities, cannot afford to lose money given the critical work they do for children and families. A hold harmless would ensure that no county receives lower rates than they currently do.

  • A $15 million investment over the biennium in Quality Infrastructure Grants. This amendment creates a competitive opportunity for early childhood stakeholders to satisfy one-time needs that support child care programs becoming quality rated to meet our 2020 and 2025 statutory quality mandates.

Public Preschool Funding for Ohio’s early childhood education grants was flat-funded (i.e. funding was consistent from the FY 18-19 budget) in both the Governor’s and House Bill, suggesting that preschool services will remain consistent over the coming two years. Part C Early Intervention Governor DeWine also included in his budget proposal an increase in state funding for Part C Early Intervention services in the amount of nearly $27 million over the biennium which will be directed towards increasing children served by new automatic eligibility for children who test lead positive and babies with neonatal abstinence syndrome. This proposed investment was also included in the House bill. In these last few weeks of budget deliberations, it is critical that our policymakers understand the importance of investing in Ohio's littlest learners. Due to an overwhelming response to our postcard form, we will be sending another batch next week. If you haven't already, please take one minute to fill out the form and send a postcard to your legislator urging them to support investments in quality child care.


Column: Increase eligibility for publicly funded child care

By: Misti Norman | Excerpts from a column featured in the Columbus Dispatch on May 30, 2019

As Ohio lawmakers debate the state’s next two-year budget, I hope they’ll encourage low-income families to take jobs — by making child care more affordable. My child care center serves 154 children, and nearly 80 percent of those families receive financial help through Ohio’s publicly funded child care program. But time and time again, we are approached by families who do not qualify for subsidized care but who are barely making it and can’t possibly afford to pay market rate.

These families often earn just $10 or $20 a month too much to get subsidized child care...

For a two-parent family of four to qualify for publicly funded child care, each parent must earn less than minimum wage. If each parent makes $8.55 per hour and works full time, the family will make too much. Their combined income will be over the 130% federal poverty level threshold. Again, Ohio guidelines not only discourage families from working, it is impossible for a two-parent household who each make minimum wage to qualify.

Families can do the math, and, for too many, work simply doesn’t pay...

Misti Norman is the owner and director of Heavenly Kids Center for Learning, a Columbus child care program, and recipient of Groundwork Ohio's 2019 Star Advocate Award.


Upcoming Webinar from the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine

On July 18 from 12:00-1:15pm EDT, the Roundtable on Obesity Solutions is hosting a 75-minute webinar that will explore the role of infant and early childhood nutrition (birth to <2 years of age) related to healthy growth and the prevention of overweight and obesity later in childhood. Presentations will feature the current prevalence and trends of high weight-for-length in infants and young children, the state of the science on nutrition-related modifiable risk factors, and obesity prevention interventions that address healthy growth, with a special emphasis on reducing disparities in populations with above-average obesity risk.


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