Child Care Expansion A Workforce Issue, Proponents Say (Gongwer)

By: Gongwer Access article


Advocates of increasing access to subsidized child care in Ohio told House members Thursday the change would benefit businesses and families.


The House Families, Aging, & Human Services Committee on Thursday received in-person and written testimony from dozens of witnesses backing a bill (HB 145) that would raise the eligibility level for publicly funded childcare from 130% of the federal poverty level to 200%.


The hearing on the bill was the first since the House adopted a substitute version of the budget (HB 110) retaining Gov. Mike DeWine's proposal to set the limit at 138% of the FPL.


Lynanne Gutierrez, assistant director at Groundwork Ohio, said the state's current threshold for families to qualify for publicly funded child care "disincentivizes work."

"Families are in crisis and working mothers are leaving the workforce due to child care challenges," she said. "Investing in quality child care provides a critical support for the workforce of today. Today, too many families with young children are making a choice between spending a significant portion of their income on child care, finding a cheaper, but potentially lower-quality or unsafe care option, or leaving the workforce altogether to become a full-time caregiver."


Ms. Gutierrez said under current requirements, a parent with two children can earn no more than $13.57 per hour – a yearly salary of $28,236 – to access the state's child care subsidy.


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