CCMPL 132 (Step Up To Quality Incentive Payments)
Child Care Manual Procedure Letter No. 132
December 19, 2019
TO: All Child Care Manual Holders
FROM: Kimberly Hall, Director
SUBJECT: Step Up To Quality Incentive Payments


Beginning July 1, 2020, division (C) of Ohio Revised Code (ORC) section 5104.31 requires, except as noted, that all providers of publicly funded child care (PFCC) services be rated at least a 1-star in Step Up To Quality (SUTQ). Additionally, division (G) of ORC section 5104.29 requires that by June 30, 2025, all centers and Type A Homes must be rated at least a 3-star or higher in SUTQ in order to provide PFCC. 

House Bill (HB) 166 of the 133rd General Assembly allocated $10 million for the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) to administer an early learning and development quality infrastructure grant program.  With these funds ODJFS, in collaboration with the Early Childhood Advisory Council, is establishing an additional incentive payment and releasing a Request for Grant Application.

SUTQ Incentive:

In an effort to encourage programs to provide PFCC services, help unrated programs to become rated, and assist current 1- and 2-star rated programs with increasing their rating, ODJFS is creating a one-time incentive payment. The payments will be $4,000 for centers and $2,000 for family child care providers.

Unrated programs and currently rated 1-and 2- star programs that submit a SUTQ registration between January 1, 2020 and February 29, 2020 are eligible for the incentive payment once the rating is approved by ODJFS. Highly rated programs that already have a 3-, 4- or 5-star rating are ineligible to receive the incentive.

In order to receive the incentive, programs must have a provider agreement to provide PFCC services before their rating is approved. The incentive payment will be issued approximately 60 days after the SUTQ rating is approved.

Quality Infrastructure Grants:

A Request for Grant Applications (RFGA) was posted on December 11, 2019.  This RFGA was released for the purpose of obtaining private not‐for‐profit and public (governmental) entities to administer early learning and development quality infrastructure grant programs that are designed to support workforce recruitment and retention, Step Up To Quality training and technical assistance, and equipment (i.e. screening tools, staff supports). ODJFS seeks to support programs offering Publicly Funded Child Care services in creating or improving the basic structure, programming, design, staffing of child care programs. ODJFS will select one non-profit or public entity per county, however applicants may apply to service more than one county.

To find the RFGA go to:

Please contact the Child Care Policy Helpdesk at 1-877-302-2347, option 4, if you have any questions.