Parents, advocates and business groups: Legislature must approve $1.4B in child care funds

(July 27, 2021) Early childhood advocates, parents, and business groups today urged the Legislature to approve $1.4 billion for child care allocated to Michigan as part of COVID-19 federal stimulus dollars. 

“Michigan has $1.4 billion just waiting to be used to expand access to affordable and quality child care services across our state,” said Annemarie Valdez, President for First Steps Kent. “Months have gone by with no action in the Michigan Legislature. Michigan families have faced unprecedented challenges from COVID-19 and these funds would address the very real issue of parents’ ability to re-enter the workforce.”

The $1.4 billion for child care can be used to:

  • Provide grants to new and expanding child care providers, increasing the availability of services, particularly in areas of the state where there is a lack of providers.
  • Expand eligibility to existing programs that make child care more affordable to Michigan families.
  • Support child care workers by providing higher wages and educational assistance, further enhancing the quality of early childhood education across the state.

“Child care providers like myself provide a safe and nurturing environment for our kids,” said Jessica White-Hatinger, Director of Operations for Big Steps Little Feet in Ada, Michigan. “Demand for our services is at an all-time high. This once-in-a-lifetime investment in Michigan’s kids would help child care providers like myself hire additional qualified staff and assist more working parents.”

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has signaled a willingness to work with the Legislature this summer to approve the $1.4 billion in child care funds.

“Child care providers are a critical part of our communities and our economy, and our state’s recovery hinges on making access and affordability a priority,” said Hanna Schulze, president of People First Economy. “Workers in the child care industry deserve higher wages and access to educational tools to improve care. This money could be put to work tomorrow if the Michigan Legislature would simply take a vote.”

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