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Boosting child care quality and nutrition: Cincinnati representative proposes enhanced funding act

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - A Cincinnati representative is proposing a bill in Congress to help struggling child care facilities, days before federal relief dollars are set to expire.

Elnora Morgan runs Loving Kindness Education and Learning Center in Mt. Auburn.

It's a five-star rated center, but Morgan says, as with most smaller child care centers, it's a struggle to find quality workers.

"It's hard trying to find staff. So, we're still looking. We're very diligent about it. Myself and the staff that I do have now, we will do both shifts just to cover, so we can support those families that need those non-traditional hours of care," Morgan said.

U.S. Rep. Greg Landsman (D-Ohio) says the Child Care Nutrition Enhancement Act would increase funding for child care providers like Morgan, and improve child care nutrition.

The act would also modify the Child and Adult Care Food program by:

  • Eliminating a two-tiered reimbursement rate system for family child care providers in which reimbursement rates vary depending on the level of local poverty

  • Providing a 10-cent increase -- tied to inflation -- to existing reimbursement rates for all eligible meals and snacks provided through the program

  • Allowing family child care providers to serve reimbursable meals and snacks to their own children when serving meals and snacks to children in their care

Rep. Landsman says, for instance, the legislation could mean up to an extra $5,700 a year in reimbursements for a family-run center with seven children.

Larger programs with around 100 children, like Head Start Center, could receive an extra $7,200 a year.

Local 12 asked Rep. Lansdman if he will promise the people of Southwest Ohio to look into proposing more legislation to help child care providers and parents.

Yes, 100 percent," he said. "I mean, this is a huge issue for me because it's a huge issue for children and families here in Southwest Ohio. It's a big issue for the country. It's key to our economy, and whether or not employers can find the workers that they need. Folks are staying home and not taking certain jobs because they can't afford quality child care.

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