Today, child care providers and community leaders from across Ohio will provide testimony before the Senate Finance Committee in support of a “hold harmless” to avoid a proposed rate decreases for Ohio’s publicly funded child care program in 13 Ohio counties (Allen, Ashland, Auglaize, Belmont, Erie, Harrison, Knox, Ottawa, Portage, Preble, Sandusky, Seneca, and Trumbull).
These rate reductions, which would go into effect on July 1, 2019, come just six months after the majority of these counties received small but critical rate increases when the administration rectified a long-time rate reimbursement injustice in 38 Ohio counties. A hold harmless would ensure that no county receives lower rates than they currently do.
The proposed rate update was motivated by federal corrective action for insufficient rates and guidance that requires Ohio to ensure that all base rates reach the low threshold of the 25th percentile of the market rate with new federal Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) funds. This would equate to publicly funded children having access to a mere 25% of the market in their community. The federal standard for equal access, as opposed to this incremental step in ensuring a sufficient floor for rates, is the 75th percentile.
Unfortunately, while the overwhelming effect of the proposed 2018 Market Rate Survey implementation is very positive, these 13 primarily rural counties will see an actual decrease in rates under the current proposal, which will create serious challenges to current providers being able to continue offering care to low-income families.
At a time when providers are so desperately in need of a rate increase as they work towards meeting our state quality mandates, the proposed amendment to ensure these 13 counties are “held harmless” simply aims to maintain status quo so that no children lose access to care.
Access today's testimonies in support of a hold harmless: