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Education

For many low-income families in Michigan, child care is out of reach

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Day care subsidies began in the mid-1990s. The goal was to help people join the workforce and get off public assistance.

 

For working parents with young children, child care is not a luxury. It's a necessity. But for many low-income families in Michigan, it's out of reach.

Consider this: it costs around $10,000 a year to send a toddler to high-quality child care.

That is almost as much as it costs to send a kid to college at a public university.

 

The state does provide a child-care subsidy for low-income families, but a family of three would have to make just under $24,000 a year to qualify for that help. So Michigan offers child-care subsidies to only the poorest families, and the state provides some of the lowest reimbursement rates in the nation.

 

Reporter Nancy Derringer explores how this "one-two punch" is hurting the state and poor children in her recent piece for Bridge Magazine.

 

Jessica Smith is a special education teacher. She's also a mom from Ypsilanti who struggled to find quality day care for her son Jordan when she did not qualify for state assistance.

 

Derringer and Smith joined us on Stateside to talk about what it's like to find affordable child care in Michigan and how the state could improve its policies.

 

GUESTS Nancy Derringer is a reporter for Bridge Magazine. Jessica Smith is a mother living in Ypsilanti who struggled to find affordable child care for her son.

Support for State of Opportunity comes from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, a partner with communities where children come first. 

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