Child care budget: Step Up to Quality remains, low-income care boosted (Ohio Capital Journal)

By: Susan Tebben Access article Child care in the state will still have one standard-making process that was nearly cut from the state budget, while other investments in broadband and publicly-funded child care come with praise from Ohio advocates.


Leaders of child care facilities and policy advocates in the state were worried that Step Up to Quality, the state’s standard-monitoring system and ranking method for licensed child care programs, would be eliminated after a Senate revision of the budget noted that as a goal. The system was ultimately retained in the final budget version signed by Gov. Mike DeWine into law.


Also included in the budget, financial eligibility for publicly-funded child care (PFCC) was widened for Ohio children, including those with special needs.


“We commend our legislators for recognizing Ohio’s inadequate child care system and providing our families with the opportunity to care for their children, regardless of race, income or ZIP code,” said Tami Lunan, of the nonprofit Ohio Organizing Collaborative.


Early education groups like Groundwork Ohio had been asking for larger increase in PFCC income eligibility, but see the provision as a step forward.


“While the increase is modest and still leaves Ohio behind other states, it is a promising development and a welcome relief to newly-eligible families,” said Shannon Jones, Groundwork’s president and CEO, in a statement following the budget passage.


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