Some Ohio Child Care Providers Could Lose State Funding Amid Rule Change

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DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — Some child care providers in Ohio could lose state funding and decide to close because of new rules that are designed to improve educational offerings and better prepare children for school, the Dayton Daily News reported.

The new rules that go into effect in 2020 include a five-star rating system for child care programs receiving state funding.

Providers will be required to earn at least one star by July 2020 and three stars by 2025 in order to receive funding.

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, which administers the program, downplayed concerns of a crisis, and said just over half of the state’s children in state-funded child care centers are in rated programs now.

But a review by the Dayton Daily News found that more than 1,000 of 1,513 centers in southwest Ohio that receive subsidized child care are currently unrated.

Small, home-based child care centers have the biggest hurdles to climb, the newspaper reported.

Advocates say some operators will choose to close over the new requirements, forcing parents to find new child care providers.

Melissa Boswell, who has operated a daycare out of her home in Springfield for 28 years, doesn’t have a high school diploma, which is a requirement under the new standards.

“I expect to change careers,” she said. “I have a hard time going back to school to do something I’ve been doing for 28 years.”

The state said it will host fairs to help programs get rated and will commit scholarships for child care teaching staff.

“We’re hitting a crisis point,” said Lisa Babb, strategic operations director of 4C for Children, which is helping publicly funded child care centers meet the new requirement.

Ohio currently allocates more than $630 million per year to subsidized child care — helping to fund centers that serve more than 100,000 Ohio children.

The Job and Family Services department last year released a study that found that child care providers with higher star ratings are associated with better child outcomes.