The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) announced the recipients of nine grants totaling more than $6.2 million to grow the number of publicly funded child care providers and improve the quality of existing providers.
One of those grants will directly benefit child care providers in Highland County.
The recipients will work with child care providers across the state to create or improve programming, implement staff supports to improve recruitment and retention, and offer training to help them become Step Up To Quality rated or improve their rating.
Step Up To Quality is Ohio’s quality rating system for child care providers.
By July 1, 2020, all Ohio licensed child care programs that receive state funding must participate in Step Up To Quality.
As of December, 86 percent of programs offering publicly funded child care services were quality rated.
The Corporation for Ohio Appalachian Development received $155,190, which in addition to Highland County includes Adams, Ashland, Athens, Belmont, Brown, Carroll, Columbiana, Coshocton, Gallia, Guernsey, Harrison, Hocking, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Knox, Lawrence, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Muskingum, Nobel, Perry, Pike, Ross, Scioto, Tuscarawas, Vinton, Washington and Wayne counties.
ODJFS has implemented multiple initiatives to help providers achieve and maintain Step Up To Quality ratings, which include:
• Funding incentive payments.
• Reducing licensing application fees.
• Dedicating ODJFS staff to meet with and guide providers through the process.
• Offering free curricula and assessments.
• Paying wage and retention bonuses for child care staff members.
• Hosting workshops where providers can ask questions and receive guidance.
• Creating a mentorship program where rated providers help guide programs that are not yet rated.
All Ohio families can search for child care providers by county, city, zip code, program type, and Step Up To Quality rating at ChildCareSearch.Ohio.gov.
Submitted by Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.