Over the past two and a half decades in Ohio, more women have entered the labor force,
and families have increased their work hours. Yet, job quality has often declined: wages
for most workers have been stagnant, health insurance provision by employers has
decreased, and Ohio remains nearly 264,000 jobs below its peak employment. The poor
performance of Ohio’s labor market coincided with the imposition of time limits for cash
assistance under the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.
These broad trends mean that more women are paying for child care and health care
while in low-wage jobs. This paper reviews changes in state child care and health care
programs and discusses how such programs can help low-wage parents remain employed.