State offering $60M in grants to help child care services keep up with reopening guidelines

Local News

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) -To assist in the reopening of child care centers, Ohio will use more than $60 million in federal CARES Act funding to provide reopening grants to all of Ohio’s child care providers, including family child care, child care centers, and both publicly-funded and private providers.

More information on how to apply will be posted to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services website soon.

On Sunday May 31, these child care providers will be permitted to adjust the ratio of teachers to students from 1 to 6, to 1 to 9. In preparation, Wenzler Preschool and Learning in Kettering will be dividing the children into separate classrooms separated by plastic dividers.

Benita Wenzler says the children under her care are having difficulties adjusting to the new normal in their classrooms.

“They got to come back and they’re playing with their friends and now we’re going to separate them again because we have to split the classrooms in half. So I think that’s going to affect the kids a lot,” she said.

Even with an increase in the ratios, child care providers are still far below their usual capacity.

“We’re only at 30 percent of our capacity with our new ratios,” said Vickie Dannals, Executive Director of Child Care Services for the YMCA of Greater Dayton.

With new spots opening in day care centers, and the possibility for even more down the road, Dannals is encouraging parents to act fast.

“I absolutely recommend that parents stay ahead of this game and get their children enrolled now so they wont have the uncertainty of ‘will they be on a waitlist?'”

And to keep up with the guidelines, YMCA is in need of help.

“It takes more staff to run with the lower ratios so we are looking to recruit additional staff,” said Dannals.

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