As more and more nonprofit, for-profit, and school-based early childhood education providers began or continued efforts to increase their quality through Ohio’s Quality Rating Improvement System – Step Up To Quality (SUTQ) – one question repeatedly arose: How much is this going to cost? To help answer this question, Groundwork Ohio launched a one-year project in early 2014 to estimate baseline and increasing costs for providers. Groundwork Ohio turned to ACS again in 2018 to help prepare a gubernatorial transition document for Ohio’s next governor, which laid out the critical policy changes needed to the state’s early care and education system.

How we did it: In 2014, ACS facilitated meetings across the state with early care and education providers to gather information and validate preliminary findings about their use of SUTQ.

In 2018, ACS interviewed stakeholders across the state and national experts to form state policy recommendations and write a coherent and comprehensive strategy for the state’s early care and education system.

Outcomes: In 2014, the feedback Groundwork received from providers at the facilitated sessions helped them adjust their findings substantially, getting them much closer to the real costs of increasing quality in early care and education across the state. Accurate baseline information and estimates of quality enhancements gave Groundwork powerful information to advocate for the additional funding providers will need to reduce class sizes, hire and pay teachers with the appropriate education, and implement other measures that ensure young children start school ready to learn.

The 2018 transition document was shared with Governor Mike DeWine and his lead policy staff to help shape his early care and education agenda for the state of Ohio. It is the basis for the state budget advocacy efforts of Groundwork and other early childhood advocates.

Learn more about Groundwork at