On March 26th, 2020, child care programs in Central Ohio closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly 1 in 6 remain closed a year later, and providers are telling us that open does not mean okay.

Just a month into the pandemic, Action for Children initiated the Central Ohio Child Care Provider Survey to collect critical data on the state of Early Childhood Education in Central Ohio. This iteration of the Central Ohio Child Care Provider Survey was distributed on March 3-11, 2021 to 1,243 child care programs in the seven counties surrounding Columbus, and updates data from earlier survey rounds.

The new survey report reveals several alarming data points, including:

  • Without immediate action, 30% of providers anticipate closing within 3 months.
  • For more than half of providers, monthly revenue does not cover expenses.
  • 46% of providers are losing more than $5,000 per month.
  • Enrollment is slowly rising, but still depressed at 57% of provider capacity.
  • More than one-third of child care centers are experiencing staff shortages with nearly 1,000 staff openings estimated currently.
  • More child care programs – now 49% of those open – have or plan to increase tuition.


Since December, our Make or Break Moment report has been used to advocate for child care support, inform decision makers at the local, state, and federal level, and push for immediate relief and expanded long-term investment in child care.  You can help support child care by sharing this updated report with your community!


Thank a child care provider and ask how you can help them. These every day heroes have been there for us throughout this difficult year. Let them know you appreciate them, what it means that child care is there for you. Ask about volunteer opportunities or how else you can help them.


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