Michigan planning to spend $100 million to open and expand 1,000 child care programs by 2024
Governor Gretchen Whitmer has a plan to help open or expand 1,000 child care programs using $100 million dollars in federal COVID aid.
The state plans to renovate buildings, contribute to startup funding and recruit staff over the next two years.
Denise Smith is the implementation director at Hope Starts Here, a child care advocacy organization based in Detroit.
She says some of the biggest barriers for parents seeking child care are access, affordability and teacher shortages.
"How can we ensure equitable access and I’m stressing those together because it’s not equal everywhere. And how do we ensure that all of those options are of quality?" she said.
A report from Public Policy Associates in Lansing found about 75% of Michigan’s children live in areas with limited access to licensed child care.
The report also found that less than a quarter of those programs offered care during nontraditional hours.
Annette Sobocinski is with Child Care Network, a Michigan children’s advocacy group. She says this plan is a great start in addressing the lack of affordable child care in the state.
"Ya know, an average, across all programs, across ages, across all ages, the average cost of care for one child in a licensed program is 10,000 a year which is about comparable to the cost of an in state university, one year in in-state university," she said.
The plan is part of a $1.4 billion dollar plan to expand access to quality child care.