400 kids in Lucas Co. to lose combined childcare services

400 kids in Lucas Co. to lose combined childcare services

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - On Tuesday, the Toledo Public School Board of Education passed a resolution against Governor John Kasich and what they call a change in the way childcare is funded in Ohio.

Governor Kasich's office says they are just clarifying a policy that was already in place.

TPS board member Polly Gerken says for more than 15 years Lucas County has layered services for low income families, allowing parents who use state funded childcare subsidies for daycare to also access the federally funded program 'Head Start,' which Gerken says provides better all-around care to kids and their families.

"We're adding to that higher quality teaching," said Gerken. "We're adding to that a parent-support partner that helps families navigate systems, keep their doctors appointments on time; make sure that immunizations are kept up to date."

However, the Governor's office says that can no longer happen, putting many area families in a tough spot.

Gerken says families will have to choose between childcare and Head Start, meaning their children will be unprepared when they go to kindergarten.

"The more services we provide, the more likely these children are going to be prepared for kindergarten and that we won't have the difficulties we have with kids coming to kindergarten sometimes as much as two years behind," said Gerken.

Gerken says nearly 400 kids in Lucas County will be affected.

Jon Keeling, spokesperson with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (JFS), says this policy is not new.  An email explaining the policy says quote:

"The extended day policy has been in Ohio Administrative Code and/or the Ohio Child Care Development Fund State plan since 1994."

Keeling says they realized some Head Start providers were layering services last year, which he says goes against the policy. He says a clarification rule will go into effect September 3.

According to Keeling, about $12 million will come about because of this policy clarification, but it has already been assigned to another aspect of the childcare system.

According to an emailed statement: "As a result of the feedback, the state will provide a four percent base payment increase to all Step Up To Quality (SUTQ) programs rated one through five stars."

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