Congressman Landsman Visits Ohio Child Care
October 9, 2023
Congressman Greg Landsman visited Loving Kindness Education and Learning Center in his home district to announce the introduction of the Child Care Nutrition Enhancement Act. The act would support child care providers who administer the USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) across the nation by increasing their reimbursements for serving nutritious meals to those in their care. The CACFP is an indicator of quality care and Congressman Landsman recognizes its positive impact on the child care.
Loving Kindness ELC is a family day care home run by Elnora Morgan in Mt. Auburn, Ohio and is sponsored by 4C for Children, an NCA member organization. Elnora has been participating in the CACFP for 15 years since learning about how the CACFP could help her program serve healthier meals. She and her staff care for up to 12 children at a time and serve as many nutritious meals as possible. Elnora says the CACFP not only helps her provide nutritious meals to the children in her care, but it also trickles down to her own family, as well as the families she serves – helping them to make healthier choices at home.
Elnora thinks the Child Nutrition Enhancement Act would be great for her program.
“More money means better choices for the children. It would help us be able to buy more of the healthier items we need, because food is very, very expensive. It would also help keep us from pulling money from another part of our program.”
Her child care is located near three major hospitals and several colleges and schools where families need non-traditional hours of child care. Elnora’s commitment to these working families and their children pushed her to extend her hours of operation from 6:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. - Midnight. Children who attend Loving Kindness during the day receive breakfast, a morning snack, and lunch. With the extension of her hours, she is now able to serve an afternoon snack and supper to the children who join her in the evenings.
However, more challenges come with Loving Kindness’ longer hours of operation. Like many child care providers, Elnora is struggling to find employees.
“Finding employees is one of the hardest things to do, because people are looking for more money. We can only pay so much because we only get so much.”
To make sure that they can continue to provide non-traditional hours of care and to cover day-to-day operations, Elnora and her staff are having to work long hours. In order to continue to operate non-traditional hours, Loving Kindness needs more funding for more employees.
“If we don’t have the funding, we can’t help those families that need non-traditional hours. When they don’t have child care, they can’t go to work and the economy goes down. We are essential providers.”
During Congressman Landsman’s visit, he got to hear about Elnora’s staffing shortage, and recognized the great need to support child care providers.
"I mean, this is a huge issue for me because it's a huge issue for children and families here in Southwest Ohio. It's a big issue for the country. It's key to our economy, and whether or not employers can find the workers that they need. Folks are staying home and not taking certain jobs because they can't afford quality child care.”
Congressman Landsman’s introduction of the Child Care Nutrition Enhancement Act is a great step towards supporting child and adult care providers serving nutritious meals to more than 97,000 children and adults in Ohio and over 4.7 million children and adults across the nation.