By: Hannah News Service Access article
Ohio will receive more than $1 billion in additional funding for child care from the latest federal COVID relief package, and some advocates want state leaders to put part of it toward expanding the number of families eligible for publicly funded child care.
Various sources estimate the American Rescue Plan (ARP) will provide Ohio in the neighborhood of $800 million for “stabilization grants” to help child care providers address fallout of the pandemic -- increased operating costs from COVID protocols and lower enrollment, among other effects -- as well as about $500 million in Child Development Block Grant funds for child care. There’s also a relatively small, ongoing increase of about $18 million per year in federal child care funding.
With an initial income threshold for subsidized child care that’s near the bottom among states and a need to help more families enter or rejoin the workforce, Ohio should use the block grant funding to expand eligibility, said Lynanne Gutierrez, assistant director and legal counsel at Groundwork Ohio, an advocacy organization focused on early childhood issues.
“We think it has to go to expand eligibility. Families need help. Families need to go to work,” she said.