Youth and Education Policy

Sen. Brown visits South Side Early Learning

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown visited South Side Early Learning yesterday to discuss pending legislation in Congress that would funnel significant resources to early education and child care providers across the country.

Press release below:

Today, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) visited Columbus to push for historic infrastructure investments in Ohio kids, working families, and our economic future. Affordable and reliable child care is vital as working families begin to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. A national survey found that a quarter of women who became unemployed during the pandemic attributed this to the lack of child care availability. A report by the Center for American Progress estimated the cost of mothers leaving the workforce and reducing work hours to take care of their children to be $64.5 billion per year in lost wages and economic activity. Investing in child care infrastructure – along with tax benefits for working families and early childhood education programs – would provide stability and economic relief for Ohio families.

“The American Families Plan recognizes that infrastructure is more than just roads and bridges. The pandemic has highlighted the vulnerabilities in our system and made clear that we need comprehensive investments to give Ohio kids and families the support they need. Building out our child care infrastructure and investing in the child care workforce will help support working families and strengthen our economy,” said Brown.

The American Families Plan would invest in much-needed infrastructure for children and families by:

  • Extending the Child Tax Credit increases Brown secured in the American Rescue Plan for another five years;
  • Providing access to high-quality universal preschool for all three- and four- year-olds;
  • Ensuring no one earning under 150 percent of state median income has to pay more than 7 percent of their income on high-quality care for children under 5; and
  • Providing comprehensive paid family and medical leave for workers to take the time they need to care for themselves or loved ones.

Brown also recently introduced a separate bill – the Building Child Care for a Better FutureAct – to expand child care infrastructure and increase availability. The Senator’s bill aims to help close the child care gap by providing new permanent federal funding to help child care providers invest in facility upgrades, support new child care providers, help existing providers expand or upgrade their programs, train and invest in the child care workforce, and provide other technical and financial support to child care providers.

Brown was joined by Elizabeth Brown, Columbus City Council President Pro Tempore; Colin Page McGinnis, CEO of South Side Early Learning (SSEL); and Thia Thissen, Assistant Director of Family and Student Services at SSEL.

“The city of Columbus is investing millions of dollars in our local child care infrastructure to provide critical supports for working families and our entire economy. As we continue focusing on expanding access to quality early learning opportunities, federal support through these initiatives will help meet the child care needs of every family in our city,” said Columbus City Council President Pro Tem Elizabeth Brown.

“Thanks to leadership from Councilmember Brown and Senator Brown, high-quality programs like South Side Early Learning will be able to expand access for families, improve early childhood infrastructure and, for the first time since the Head Start Act of 1965, truly innovate early learning. The silver lining to the pandemic is local, state and federal policymakers all know what South Side has known for nearly 100 years—early childhood is the core to our economy, well-being, and communities,” said Colin Page McGinnis CEO of SSEL.

“We serve our families holistically, but it can have a domino effect. When our families have to choose between basic needs like a new furnace or childcare fees, if they choose childcare fees, then our organization takes money from our budget to help pay for that furnace. When we pay for the furnace, money that could have gone to increasing teacher’s wages isn’t there. New legislation could help resolve this dilemma for everyone involved,” said Thia Thissen Assistant Director of Family and Student Services at SSEL.