Great news for working parents and children!

Added March 28th, 2018 by Pat Sorenson | Email This Entry Email This Entry
Pat Sorenson

Facing another possible government shutdown, last Friday Congress passed and the president signed a federal spending bill for the remainder of 2018. Included in the federal budget is more than $3 billion in increased funding for child care and early learning programs—a major step forward for thousands of working families and their children in Michigan.

The final budget provides nearly $2.4 billion for child care programs through the federal Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG), as well as increases of $610 million for Head Start, $20 million for afterschool programs through the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, and $11.4 million for early intervention programs.

The most significant boost is in funding for child care for families with low wages. This money is intended to fully fund the 2014 federal child care reauthorization that expanded health and safety protections for child care, as well as set the stage for improvements in child care quality and access. While the child care reauthorization was widely praised, it was not accompanied by the new federal funds needed to make its vision a reality.

So what does this mean for Michigan families and children? The Center for Law and Social Policy estimates that the newly-passed budget will bring an additional $69.7 million in federal funding to Michigan in 2018, with the potential to provide care to nearly 3,500 additional children while their parents work to support them.    

The Michigan League for Public Policy has documented problems in Michigan’s child care subsidy program including some of the lowest income eligibility levels in the country, provider rates that have made access to high-quality care difficult, and child care payment practices that have made it difficult for small child care businesses to thrive. The result of these shortcomings has been a dramatic drop in the number of children able to receive a child care subsidy in Michigan.

The League is working with its state and local partners to advocate for important changes in Michigan’s child care subsidy program, and welcomes this unprecedented opportunity to use new federal funds to move the state forward. Please join us in letting your representatives in Congress and in the Michigan Legislature know how much access to high-quality child care means to you, your neighbors or your employees.

Pat Sorenson

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