Home Education MI to help open new child care programs

MI to help open new child care programs

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MI to help open new child care programs

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is committed to helping open or expand 1,000 child care programs by 2024 using $ 100 million in federal COVID assistance.

The state plans to invest in children’s buildings, teacher training and start-up grants.

If Whitmer and the state legislators reached a deal to spend last year $ 1.4 billion in federal assistance to support the state’s childcare system, they agreed to use most of the funds to pay more providers and make more families eligible for state-subsidized assistance.

As hundreds of child care providers shut down during the pandemic, state leaders also allocated $ 100 million to address structural issues such as extremely high the rate of turnover of teachers, the lack of appropriate buildings and red tape, which made it difficult to find a building for a children’s center or open a new business.

Whitmer’s plan outlines a plan for spending these funds and is the first step toward distributing dollars through grants.

“It’s interesting because we think more at the system level about how the pieces come together,” said Denise Smith, director of Hope Starts Here, an early childhood initiative in Detroit, referring to Whitmer’s plan.

There are 7,915 child care programs in Michigan, according to Early Childhood Investment Corporation, a nonprofit that contracts with the state to help manage the child care system. That’s less than 8187 about a year ago. These programs can range from centers that serve dozens of children to home programs that serve six or fewer.

“The lack of childcare options means families are forced to leave the workforce, work fewer hours or collect childcare options that don’t work very well for their families,” Whitmer said in a statement Monday. “It doesn’t work for children, or families, or employers.”

The initiative will be divided into four parts:

  • $ 51.1 million for the reconstruction and construction of children’s institutions;
  • $ 23 million in start-up grants to help new providers get started before they open;
  • $ 11.4 million for the recruitment, training, and maintenance of early childhood educators, including a $ 4 million training program for elementary educators; and
  • $ 14.3 million to speed up the licensing process, which many vendors find difficult, and to help providers assess market demands, identify facilities, create a business plan, and comply with health and safety regulations.

Kobe Levin is a Detroit Chalkbeat reporter who covers K-12 schools and preschool education. Contact Kobe at klevin@chalkbeat.org.

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