As business and community leaders, we have witnessed firsthand how access to quality child care impacts our current and future workforce, as well as our community. We are writing to you to urge Ohio policymakers to support Ohio children, families, and businesses by expanding publicly funded child care eligibility to 150% of the Federal Poverty Level in the state biennial budget, HB110, through amendment SC2363. Over the past year, the pandemic has made clear the urgent need to invest in our quality child care system so families can go to work, businesses can remain open, and young children can receive high-quality early learning experiences to prepare them for success in school and in life.
While access to child care has long been a challenge for working families, the pandemic has accelerated the issue and left us with a workforce crisis. Recently, the U.S. Census Household Pulse Survey determined that the lack of access to child care is the third most reported reason for not working, third only to pandemic-related layoffs and furloughs due to reduced business hours. Unfortunately, this crisis has disproportionally impacted women. As of March 2021, nearly 1.5 million mothers of young children are still missing from the workforce compared to the start of the pandemic. Meanwhile, businesses are struggling to find and retain employees due in part to the lack of affordable child care options. If Ohio wants to solve its current workforce crisis, access to quality child care must be part of the solution.
Access to quality child care not only supports the workforce of today, but also lays a strong foundation for the workforce of tomorrow. Children who participate in quality-rated child care programs are better prepared for kindergarten, less likely to need costly interventions or be held back a grade, more likely to graduate high school, and more likely to pursue college or vocational training programs. Investing in our youngest learners is key to ensuring that our future workforce has the knowledge and skills required to compete and keep Ohio’s economy moving forward.
With the passing of the American Rescue Plan Act, Ohio will receive nearly $1.3 billion in funding specific to child care. This influx of funding is an opportunity for the state to put a down payment on increasing eligibility for publicly funded child care and provide immediate relief to families so they can return to work. Ohio’s youngest learners, families, businesses, and communities cannot wait any longer. If not now, then when?
Jane D. Leach, CEO
Future Ready Columbus
Alex Fischer, President & CEO
Tanny Crane, President & CEO
Bishop Timothy J. Clarke, Senior Pastor
First Church of The City
Michael Martz, Managing Partner
Vorys, Sater, Seymour, and Pease LLP
Dr. Kelly Kelleher, MD
Nationwide Children’s Hospital
Dr. David Harrison, President
Columbus State Community College
Kenneth N. Wilson, County Administrator
Franklin County Board of Commissioners
Heather Brilliant, CFA, President and CEO
Diamond Hill Capital Management, Inc
Groundwork Ohio's budget blog series features stories from child care professionals, families, business leaders, and community members on why there's an urgent need in their communities to expand access to quality child care. In the state biennial budget, Ohio legislators have the opportunity to increase eligibility for the state's publicly funded child care program from 130% of the Federal Poverty Level to 150% of the Federal Poverty Level. Read our child care budget fact sheet to learn more about why there is an urgent need to increase access to quality child care. Take action today by contacting your Senator urging their support for expanding eligibility by clicking here.