News   |   Sign Up   |   A LEVER FOR SCALE  


Our lead ally in Ohio, Groundwork Ohio, is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization that champions high-quality early learning and healthy development strategies from the prenatal period to age five, that lay a strong foundation for Ohio kids, families, and communities.

2022 State Early Childhood Policy Environment and Progress

State early childhood policy progress is dependent both on the state’s policy environment and the numerous efforts — by those listed on this page and many others — who worked both independently and collaboratively to achieve wins for young children.

Policy Landscape:

State General Fund Appropriations: Growing 

In 2021, Ohio enacted a two-year budget for fiscal 2022 and fiscal 2023.The budget calls for total spending of $80.8 billion in fiscal 2022 (a 0.72 percent increase from
fiscal 2021) and $81.1 billion in fiscal 2023 (a 0.43 percent increase from fiscal 2022). General revenue fund appropriations are estimated at $34.8 billion in fiscal 2022 (a 2.0 percent decline from fiscal 2021) and $39.2 billion in fiscal 2023 (a 12.6 percent increase from fiscal 2022). The budget forecasts general revenue fund total tax growth declining 3.9 percent in fiscal 2022 and increasing 3.3 percent in fiscal 2023. The governor signed the budget after making a series of line-item vetoes.1

Political Alignment: Aligned Republican

During the session, the state’s Senate and House were both Republican controlled. The state’s Governor was also a Republican.2

Young Children in Low-Income Households: Declining

Approximately 43% (529,600) of the state’s children 0-8 live in households below 200% FPL. This number represents a decrease from 47% (588,000) in 2015.3

Racial Disparity Among Young Children Living in Low-Income Households: High

Non-White children 0-8 are significantly more likely to be living in households below 200% FPL.3

Advocacy Landscape:

Key state policy advocacy organizations include:

Early childhood policy advocacy multi-state initiatives present in the state include4:

2021 Policy Progress:

(Ohio had no legislative session in 2022.)

Groundwork Ohio and the state’s network of advocates launched a robust education and advocacy effort that ensured Ohio’s pregnant mothers, infants, and toddlers remained a priority. While tough decisions remain, advocates are invigorated by the growing momentum to support young children and families. The governor’s Eliminating Racial Disparities in Infant Mortality task force convened in early 2021. Groundwork Ohio participated in the task force and organized and hosted listening sessions with community partners and families in counties with high infant mortality rates.

Highlights from the state’s early childhood policy advocacy community include5:

HB 110. Created state appropriations for FY22-23:

1) Extends postpartum coverage for Medicaid-eligible pregnant women from 60 days to 12 months, some 10,000 additional women will maintain access to critical health services.

2) Appropriates $29M over biennium for implementing infant vitality initiatives at state and local level, increasing awareness, and collecting data and includes $500k to allows a universal needs assessment for vulnerable women.

3) Invests $2.25M in FY22 in Healthy Beginnings at Home to support stable housing for pregnant women and new mothers.

4) Designates Maternal Mortality Awareness Month to increase awareness and prevention of pregnancy-associated deaths. 

5) Increases investment in Ohio Help Me Grow to $41.2M each fiscal year.

6) Expands access to Ohio Help Me Grow for children ages 3-5 engaged in child welfare system. 

7) Provides more than $6M over biennium to prevent child lead poisoning and support prevention efforts.

8) Expands access to publicly-funded child care (PFCC) to families making up to 142% FPL,

9) Expands access to PFCC to families with children who have special needs making up to 150% FPL,

10) Provides $50M in co-pay assistance for families accessing PFCC. 

11) Requires recent federal relief funding on child care to be spent on stabilizing and sustaining child care system, improving workforce recruitment, and increasing access.

12) Doubles investment in Governor’s Imagination Library to $16M over biennium to support early literacy efforts.

Ohio Dept. of Medicaid released Managed Care Plans selected to provide services beginning in mid-2022. Application requirements included many early childhood provisions and some plans zeroed in on prenatal to five. This policy win will impact over 400,000 children ages 0-5 currently enrolled in Medicaid.

During the state budget, the legislature attempted to eliminate Ohio’s 5-star quality rating and improvement system, Step Up To Quality. While the high-quality mandate requiring center-based programs to be rated at least 3 stars or higher by 2025 was eliminated, the legislature did keep the 2020 mandate requiring all programs that participate in PFCC to be rated at least 1 star.


Ohio Advocacy Snapshot:

Ohio Early Childhood Policy Advocacy

Ohio Allies Launch Innovative Center for Family Voice as Part of Ongoing Work on Race and Rural Equity

Groundwork Ohio has announced plans to build a “center of excellence” dedicated to authentically engaging Ohio parents and families in the policies and practices that impact the healthy development of their children. The Center for Family Voice will explore best practices across the state and nation that successfully engage families in public services delivery to inform state, local, and programmatic policy development.

Read More »


National Association of State Budget Officers, Summaries of Fiscal Year 2023 Enacted Budgets, September 20, 2022.

National Conference of State Legislatures, 2021 State & Legislative Partisan Composition, February 2, 2022.

Kids Count Data Center, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Children Ages 0 to 8 Below 200 Percent Poverty, December, 2020; NCCP Analysis of ACS 5-Year Estimates – Public Use Microdata Sample 2016-2020.

Alliance for Early Success, Multi-State Initiatives for Early Childhood Policy Advocacy, April, 2022.

Alliance for Early Success, State-Wide Advocacy Highlights Survey, April-September, 2022.  

2023 Grantee Policy Agenda:

The Alliance’s lead grantee in Ohio, Groundwork Ohio, is working to advance early childhood policies in several areas: 

Early Care and Education

Child Care

Child Care Workforce

Child and
Maternal Health

Maternal Health

Infant & Child Health

Early Intervention (Age0-3)



Home Visiting


More State Policy Data:


More State Demographic Data: