Last month, I joined the Ohio Children’s Caucus in calling on Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman to address the urgent need for working parents’ immediate access to reliable, safe and quality childcare. Unaffordable or inaccessible childcare has long affected parents’—particularly mothers’—ability to balance their careers and families. This issue has become more apparent than ever throughout the coronavirus pandemic, and finding a long-term solution is critical for an effective reopening of the economy. Bottom line: Until parents can return to work knowing that their children can be safely cared for, they will not be able to fully participate in the labor market.
To address this issue, we urged the Senators’ support for the childcare recommendations endorsed by the Children’s Defense Fund, Groundwork Ohio and other partners. These measures include a significant increase in funding dedicated to flexible childcare that addresses families’ specific needs throughout the pandemic. In addition to ensuring that childcare providers can also safely return to work by maintaining smaller class sizes, more frequent sanitation and increased use of personal protective equipment, this funding would allow for increased virtual learning opportunities for children in the event of another wave of infections.
Without immediate relief, our state could lose up to 45% of its childcare capacity. This loss would be especially detrimental during a time when coronavirus-related layoffs have already severely impacted Ohio’s economy. However, by taking this time to invest in our childcare industry, we can not only ensure that parents can safely get back to work—we can build a better blueprint for Ohio’s children for years to come.