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Share your childcare story in Michigan

Share your childcare story in Michigan

The Karin Cooney Child Care Center is licensed to care for 44 children Monday through Friday. But in a matter of months, she was only able to care for about 30 – a result of being tied to certified, quality staff, which made her Angel Care Child Care Center one of the most sought after in Grand Traverse County. .

With four other teachers, she could make a gap in her waiting list, where 258 families signed up in hopes of enrolling the child. But her teachers seem to be leaving faster than she can hire new ones, due to the long-running staff turnover crisis in early childhood education.

“It’s finally exploding,” said Cooney, who has worked in childcare for 25 years. “I just can’t imagine being the father of a small child now.”

In a state where childcare is valuable, Slots in objects like Cooney’s are like goldand they are more valuable than was previously known.

In 2021, the number of licensed child care providers in Michigan fell by 735 – a sharp drop for the year. In total, there are only 314,000 jobs for nearly 560,000 children under the age of five.

Michigan lawmakers have sent $ 1.4 billion in federal aid to stabilize the childcare industry. Money, however, is a one-time fix designed to fix a ship during a pandemic.

In the absence of long-term policy fixes, experts say, the industry is teetering on the path to collapse the childcare business model continues to break down.

Karin Cooney stands near her childcare center in Traverse City, which has 258 families on its waiting list.

Mike Krabbs for Traverse City Record-Eagle

Michigan is also trying to find out why about 2,000 vendors ultimately failed to apply for stabilization grants, which were supposed to protect against the fall of more day care. Experts note that concerns about the taxes attached to the grants caused hesitation, and the application was “really complicated.” And the owners of kindergartens themselves have stated that they oppose state interference in the operation of their institutions.

A consortium of editors led by non-profit edition of MuckRock requests childcare records through Freedom of Information inquiries in Michigan and conducts a first-of-its-kind analysis of childcare records data. In the coming weeks, they will have stories and data to share.

MuckRock also wants to hear from families and providers about the childcare crisis in Michigan. Below is a form with 10 questions – some additional, some required, but not for publication. You can also email the editorial office directly to childcare@muckrock.com or call and leave voicemail at (401) 830-2344.

Having trouble viewing this form? Go here.

Luke Powell is a reporter for Traverse City Record-Eagle. You can contact him at lucapowell1@gmail.com

Mohar Chatterjee is a reporter for MuckRock and the Brown Institute for Media Innovation at Columbia University. You can contact her at mc4958@columbia.edu

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