State Rep. Julie Calley and the Michigan House today voted to improve access to affordable child care in Michigan.
Calley, of Portland, helped sponsor the bipartisan proposal, aimed at providing the flexibility needed to help providers start – and stay in – business while continuing to prioritize the safety of Michigan children. It now advances to the Senate for further consideration.
“Too many moms and dads are forced to make the decision not to return to the workforce after starting a family simply because they can’t find a trusted child-care provider they can afford,” Calley said. “The changes we’re making will eliminate some of the government red tape that has made it so hard for day-care centers and in-home providers to succeed, so Michigan families have access to more convenient and affordable options in their communities.”
State research has shown that 75 percent of children in Michigan live in areas with limited access to child care. In addition, 10 Michigan counties do not currently have licensed slots at centers that serve children younger than 30 months.
A 2019 report by the National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance detailed the key factors that have led to the decreasing number of in-home providers across the country, finding an extensive amount of regulations, start-up and operational expenses, and low compensation rates for providers to be the main barriers.
House Bills 5041-48 include common-sense regulatory reforms that will:
- Offer enhanced reporting requirements and more concise regulation to let high-quality providers thrive while bad actors are held accountable.
- Expand access in areas where families live and work by offering a safe path for providers to utilize multi-use buildings.
- Help parents access health and safety information by allowing providers to share certain records online.
Additionally, efforts to make child care more affordable and accessible are supported in the new state budget with $1.4 billion in federal COVID relief funds. This will provide grants, increase the income eligibility threshold, and temporarily boost provider reimbursement rates.