White, Child Care Study Committee Publish Final Report
COLUMBUS – Ohio’s Joint Study Committee on Ohio’s Publicly Funded Child Care and Step Up to Quality has published their final recommendations to help state lawmakers craft future legislation to improve access to child care and quality early learning, the committee’s joint Co-Chair Representative Andrea White (R-Kettering) announced recently.
“This committee was formed in the midst of a child care and workforce crisis only further exacerbated by the pandemic,” said White. “And as we heard repeatedly from witnesses, ensuring access to quality, affordable child care is about far more than supporting parents and increasing the workforce. It’s about investing in the education, school readiness and future trajectory of our children’s lives. This investment in turn paves a long-term successful path forward for our families, our communities and our future workforce.”
Co-chaired by both White and Senator Jerry Cirino (R-Kirtland), the committee held eight public hearings over the past year to study all sides of the child care challenges facing the state. Dozens of witnesses testified, including parents, home and center-based industry providers, early childhood professionals and advocates, business and community leaders, and state agency staff.
Based on this input, the committee created nine consensus recommendations to deal with issues ranging from decreasing workforce shortages in both the home and center-based child care spaces – caused in part by low wages and reimbursement rates; cutting administrative burdens and increasing shared business services to help more providers enter or stay in the field – particularly in underserved areas; and creating better data collection to help demonstrate the impact of investments in quality early learning; and cost-modeling long-term fiscal sustainability for publically funded child care.
The report also recommends engaging with private businesses to explore increased incentives to provide on-site child care or expand child care benefits, working with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services to help establish partnerships between child care providers and private companies.
White said the report’s strategies address short-term, immediate concerns while also making forward-looking recommendations to ensure that future legislators are equipped to make data-driven policy decisions and preserve high-quality child care in the state.
“Multiple national studies confirm that children participating in quality early learning are more likely to be ready for kindergarten, graduate from high school, have higher earnings and be less likely to depend on welfare services in adulthood,” she said. “It is imperative that Ohio continues to prioritize finding solutions to meet the challenges of supporting early childhood learning and quality, affordable child care – for both the workforce of today and the developing young workforce of tomorrow,” White said.
The full report and all committee testimony and presentations can be found at: https://ohiohouse.gov/committees/study-committee-on-ohios-publicly-funded-child-care-and-step-up-to-quality-program