Push To Expand Child Care Eligibility Continues (Gongwer)

By: Gongwer Access article


Advocates told the House Finance Committee Wednesday that the level of eligibility for publicly funded child care in the latest version of the state operating budget is still too low.


The House's substitute version of the budget (HB 110), unveiled Tuesday, keeps the level at 138% of the federal poverty level, as proposed by Gov. Mike DeWine. That's an increase from the current 130% of FPL.


Groundwork Ohio Assistant Director Lynanne Gutierrez urged the committee to accept an amendment expanding eligibility for publicly funded child care to 150% of the federal poverty level.


The state is only serving 97,000 children, down from about 117,000 before the pandemic, and the expansion of about 2,000 is not enough, she said. Increasing eligibility to 150% of FPL would add about 14,000 children.


"This policy choice comes at a time when we have an incredible amount of federal dollars coming to Ohio to help secure the child care system because of the COVID-19 pandemic," she said. "Over a billion dollars in fact through the American Rescue Plan is coming to Ohio specifically for child care."


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