DeWine announces $85M in federal funds to benefit child care centers

Child care centers have one week to access American Rescue Plan Act funds

Credit: Marshall Gorby

Credit: Marshall Gorby

Ohio has made $85 million in federal funds available to child care centers to train staff, complete building repairs, increase capacity and create entirely new child care programs.

The Child Care Access Grant program, teased in this month’s State of the State address, is meant to improve and expand existing childcare facilities in Ohio. Gov. Mike DeWine says that improving the state’s child care options will help buff the state’s workforce and better prepare young Ohioans for school.

The new fund is paid for entirely by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which included $39 billion in child care relief funding. Ohio’s program will be administered by the Ohio Department of Children and Youth. Awarded grants will divvied up into five different categories. They include:

• A New Center Start-Up Grant, which can be up to $500,000;

• A Program Repairs Grant, which can run up to $100,000;

• An Increase Capacity for Children with Special Needs Grant, which can run up to $100,000;

• A Program Expansion Grant, which can run up to $50,000;

• A Family Child Care Grant, which can run up to $25,000.

“Applications will be reviewed based on the number of families that will be impacted by age group; the star-rating level of the provider; providing non-traditional care (including evenings and weekends); providing infant and toddler care; and programs with Inclusive Child Care Program designations,” said Department of Children and Youth Director Kara Wente in a press release.

Existing child care centers that hope to access these funds have only a week before the application window closes at 5 p.m. on April 26. The state said it plans to begin awarding the grants by early May. Applications can be submitted through the Ohio Professional Registry at

The state is on a time crunch to get these funds out the door. According to the Department of Child and Youth Services, grantees will need to inform the state of what they spent the money on by Aug. 31 of this year; and the state owes the federal government that same data by Sept. 30.

All leftover funds in the pot of money would be returned to the federal government.

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Avery Kreemer can be reached at 614-981-1422, on X, via email, or you can drop him a comment/tip with the survey below.

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