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Ohio makes more money available for child care grants using federal funds

Aleksander Krsmanovic
Child care room

Child care providers around Ohio can apply for state grants to help with operational costs, workforce recruitment, and other needs.

The state grants are funded by federal relief measures like the American Rescue Plan Act and the CARES Act. The money is rolling out in phases. The state has already issued $230 million in grants and now has about $705 million still available.

Matt Damschroder, Ohio Department of Job and Family Services director, said these grants are intended to help expand access to child care.

“Having additional dollars for programs to use for retention bonuses, hiring bonuses, and other types of incentives, can make sure that workforce remains in place in order to continue to provide quality child care across the state,” said Damschroder.

The grants include a base amount with the potential for even more money depending on the provider’s maximum capacity. The base amount for a child care center is set at $50,000 while a home provider’s base amount is $10,000. A provider can get another $1,100 per each child at what would be maximum capacity, even if the facility is not currently at maximum capacity.

Family child care providers who take care of kids during non-traditional business hours are eligible for the same $10,000 base amount and $2,200 per child at maximum capacity.

Groundwork Ohio advocates on behalf of children’s issues at the Ohio Statehouse. Erin Ryan, Groundwork Ohio’s director of policy advocacy & external affairs, said they commend the latest round of funding for child care providers and its workers.

“They are investing in the workforce who have been chronically underpaid and undervalued, even though they're providing those crucial supports that allow parents to go to work. They allow children to have a space where they are growing and learning and becoming prepared to grow into adulthood, to go to school, and be ready,” said Ryan.

However, the group is calling on the state to also pursue a “bold” and sustaining investment in child care.

“So beyond these grant opportunities, what we would really like to see and what our state really needs is more consistent — and over a significant period of time — funding the actual cost of a quality child care system,” said Ryan.

Damschroder said ODJFS is currently focused on issuing these grants but added that Gov. Mike DeWine has made children’s issues a priority. He said the state will continue to look at ways to make sure that child care in Ohio is affordable and sustainable.

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