COLUMBUS – Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Director Kim Hall announced emergency action Tuesday to provide child care to families where parents work in the health, safety, and essential service fields during the coronavirus pandemic.
The agency will issue temporary pandemic child care licenses to ensure communities have access to child care.
“It is important that professionals who are essential to protecting the public are able to ensure their families have safe places to go while they are at work,” Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said. “Helping to address this need allows our health and safety providers to focus on protecting and caring for all Ohioans.”
New temporary pandemic child care centers will operate under reduced regulations focused solely on the health and safety of children. Pandemic child care center licenses can be granted to already existing child care centers or new child care centers that may be created in response to community needs.
Parents who are able should identify a safe and healthy alternative child care option during the pandemic that will keep their child(ren) out of a group setting and not with an elderly provider.
"However, we recognize that this is not an option for all families and want to ensure all children have a safe option while parents provide health, safety, and other essential services," Hall said.
“Health care workers, first responders, and those working so hard to provide Ohioans with essential services are needed now more than ever. These measures will ensure that these families can maintain their work schedules, while resting assured that their children are safe,” Hall said. “These measures will be in force for the duration of the pandemic.”
A previous executive order, EO 2020-02D, increased the number of children allowed to be supervised by child care staff, depending on the type of program and ages of children being served.
It also increased from 10 to 20 the number of paid absent days for providers serving children in the Publicly Funded Child Care program, and it provides child care programs with 21 paid days if they must close their programs because of the pandemic.
ODJFS and county agencies are responsible for licensing and inspecting all child care settings in Ohio.
In addition, ODJFS offers financial assistance to eligible parents to help them with child care costs while they engage in work, education or job training.