Conference Committee Preserves Funding for Key Early Education and Health Investments in Ohio’s FY 2020-2021 Operating Budget
Columbus, Ohio: Yesterday, conference committee agreed to favorably report the final version of the state budget bill to the Senate and House of Representatives for a vote. The conference committee’s version of the budget reflects the ongoing support of the Governor, House, and Senate for investments in the early learning and healthy development of Ohio’s young children, including:
· A $30 million increase in investments over the biennium for the Help Me Grow evidence-based home visiting program, bringing the total biennial investment to $70 million and supporting the Governor’s goal of tripling the number of families served by the program.
· A $10 million investment in Quality Infrastructure Grants to enhance Ohio’s child care system, creating a grant opportunity to satisfy one-time needs for child care programs to become quality-rated and meet Ohio’s statutory mandate that all publicly funded providers be rated at least 1-star in our quality rating and improvement system, Step Up to Quality, by July 1, 2020.
· A “hold harmless” for child care providers, ensuring that no rates will be decreased in the Administration’s proposed rate update—a measure that is critical to maintaining publicly funded child care slots in 13 rural counties that would have seen a cut in the proposed rate update.
· A $24 million increase in investments over the biennium for Part C Early Intervention services to support new automatic eligibility for children who have tested positive for lead and babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome.
· A $5 million investment in the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library to support early literacy.
“We applaud the Governor and members of the House and Senate for the many hours they spent crafting and deliberating on the FY20-21 operating budget,” said Shannon Jones, Executive Director of Groundwork Ohio. “The new investments we see in this budget reflect our state’s commitment to investing in the early learning and healthy development of our young children—our state’s future. We look forward to working with the Governor and legislature to ensure these investments offer the maximum impact for children, families, and the Great State of Ohio.”
The Ohio House of Representatives and Senate are scheduled to hold a final vote on the budget early this afternoon before sending it to the Governor.
Groundwork Ohio is a committed, nonpartisan advocacy organization formed in 2004 that advances quality early learning and development as the most transformative strategy to improve school outcomes, increase the life-long success of Ohio’s children, and lay a strong foundation for economic prosperity in the state of Ohio. To learn more about Groundwork Ohio visit www.GroundworkOhio.org and follow us on Twitter @GroundworkOhio and Facebook, www.facebook.com/GroundworkOhio.
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