With 90 percent of brain development occurring during a child’s first five years, this time is without a doubt crucial to the child and the future course of a that child’s life. Many children do not receive the necessary care during this stage in their life simply due to their unfortunate circumstances.
When low-income children arrive to kindergarten, on average, they have half of the vocabulary of their higher-income peers; an education gap is clear to see between the kids in higher and lower-income households.
Furthermore, Ohio offers child care to children of working parents living at or below 130 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. Child care for 0- to 4-year-old children provides a critical opportunity to affect kids during the most important period of their development and provide necessary support for parents seeking career pathways out of public assistance and into the workforce.
However, considering that a single mother with one infant making $21,000 per year does not qualify under the current system, much work is still needed to be done.
A DeWine-Husted Administration would seek to increase access for more at-risk children and encourage parental participation in the workforce by increasing eligibility from 130 percent of the poverty level to 155 percent, to serve more working families and their children. With more children getting the vital knowledge they need to be prepared for K-12, and parents being encouraged to work up the ladder without the fear of making over the 130 percent, the lives of many families can be further improved.
Wright is a retired teacher.