CCMTL 164 (New Exemptions from Step Up To Quality for Publicly Funded Child Care Providers)
Child Care Manual Transmittal Letter No. 164
October 6, 2023
TO: All Child Care Manual Holders
FROM: Matt Damschroder, Director
SUBJECT: New Exemptions from Step Up To Quality for Publicly Funded Child Care Providers


Licensed child care programs were required to be rated through Step Up To Quality (SUTQ) in order to be eligible to provide Publicly Funded Child Care (PFCC). House Bill 45 of the 134th Ohio General Assembly added two new exemptions to the SUTQ participation requirement outlined in paragraph (A)(3) of rule 5101:2-16-09 of the Ohio Administrative Code. With the implementation of House Bill 45, certain child care programs  were no longer be required to be SUTQ rated to provide PFCC.


Rule 5101:2-16-09 has been revised to correct a punctuation error and add the two new exemptions to paragraph A:

(g)A licensed child care, ODE licensed pre-school or school-age program that provides publicly funded child care to less than twenty-five per cent of the program's license capacity.

(h)A program that is a type A child-care home or licensed type B family child-care home.

Previously issued Child Care Manual Procedure Letter No.161 provided the below guidance for programs on the new exemptions:

Scenario Procedure
I am a licensed child care provider who currently does not provide PFCC services. How do I sign up to become a PFCC provider now that I meet a SUTQ exemption? To provide PFCC services, licensed providers can begin the process in the Ohio Child Licensing and Quality System (OCLQS). A desk aid on how to submit a PFCC Agreement & Financial Information in OCLQS is available here to assist with this process.  
What is my payment if I choose to no longer be SUTQ rated?

Programs that withdraw from SUTQ will receive the lower payment of either:

The rate outlined in appendix A to Rule 5101-2-16-10, of the OAC, for non-rated programs in the provider's county. The payment change takes place the Sunday following the day the SUTQ withdraw is effective.

How do I withdraw my program from SUTQ if I meet one of the new exemptions?

A program can withdraw from SUTQ by submitting a JFS 01556 "Request to Withdraw from Step Up To Quality" to their licensing specialist.

The effective withdrawal date is the date requested on the JFS 01556 or 30 days from the signature date on the JFS 01556, whichever is later.

What if I withdraw my ODJFS child care center or ODE preschool and school-age program from SUTQ then later exceed the 25 percent PFCC service threshold? The program will be notified by ODJFS that they must submit a SUTQ registration.
If my program’s SUTQ rating was removed within the last year due to a serious risk non-compliance (SRNC) or an accumulation of moderate and SRNC points, can I still provide PFCC? Yes. At the end of the exemption period stated in the ODJFS notice, the program must submit a SUTQ registration and become rated if they provide PFCC to 25 percent or more of the program’s license capacity.

The most recent version of the ODJFS form referenced in this procedure letter can be accessed through Forms Central.

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