A Note from 4C for Children President/CEO Vanessa Freytag:
For the past several weeks, 4C for Children has worked with members of the Cincinnati City Council to advocate for additional support for and expansion of child care programs in the community. As a result, $1 million of the approximately $279 million American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) federal stimulus funds earmarked for Cincinnati have been allocated to a Child Care Startup Fund, which would provide critical resources and start-up funding for potential child care providers.
Council members voted on this and other allocations at a meeting held on Wednesday, May 19.
4C for Children looks forward to leading the efforts to launch new child care programs that will serve families receiving child care subsidy. This is one of the five needs that were included in the initial $5 million proposal. The focus of what the $1 million can be used for won’t be clarified until the city receives full federal guidelines around how the dollars can be used.
The supply of child care, especially those programs that serve children of low-income working families who receive state assistance for child care, has decreased dramatically over the past year as the strain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has caused programs to close. For instance, there has been a 9% overall loss of programs accepting child care subsidy in Hamilton County between December 2019 and December 2020, impacting nearly 20,000 children.
4C for Children was among the core group that created an initial proposal for a $5 million two-year plan to invest in the local child care economy. It’s imperative to assist existing programs in their economic recovery, assist parents who have child care debt due to the impact of the pandemic on their income and to ensure lost child care seats are reestablished so all children have the opportunity to access and receive the early education they need to build their futures.
Child care is also essential to the economic recovery of our community. Families need reliable child care options because they can’t get back to work if there’s no one to care for their child. Child care providers are essential and provide the workforce behind creating a strong community workforce.
These funds are the first step in making sure that our community’s youngest children are given every opportunity to grow and flourish and families have the support they need to be productive members of the local workforce.
We look forward to continuing to work with the Cincinnati City Council, as well as all community leaders in Southwest Ohio and the Miami Valley, to continue establish new child care programs and increase the quality of existing programs.
Although we had hoped to see a much larger investment to support the deep challenges families and child care programs are facing, we are appreciative that the council identified these funds to help expand and support child care in the City of Cincinnati.