Rep. Calley, state leaders announce plan to improve access to child care in Michigan
State Rep. Julie Calley this week helped announce a comprehensive plan aimed at improving access to high-quality, affordable child care for Michigan families.
Calley, of Portland, joined state legislators, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and several child-care industry and regional business leaders to unveil the bipartisan proposal. The legislation will continue to prioritize high-quality care for families to ensure children are safe, while also providing much-needed flexibility to better support providers who depend on adequate resources to deliver reliable, effective care.
“The lack of affordable child-care options is one of the biggest issues families struggle with, especially in rural communities,” Calley said. “In many cases, both parents want to work but it simply doesn’t make financial sense. Moms and dads sit around the kitchen table, crunch the numbers and realize it will cost more to send their kids to day care than they will bring home with an extra paycheck. Parents should be empowered with more options.”
Calley said the number of in-home child-care providers across Michigan has dropped at an alarming rate over the last decade. A 2019 Public Sector Consultants study commissioned by the Michigan Department of Education found the number of family and group child care home providers declined as much as 38 percent in a seven-year span.
Recent research has also 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.
Expands access to child care. A safe path for child-care providers would be established to allow location in multi-use buildings, helping provide service options closer to home or work for many Michigan families. Home-based providers with proven records of success would be able to care for additional children. An innovative contract model would improve access and appropriately address costs of infants and toddlers in areas that now don’t have enough providers to meet demand – so-called ‘child-care deserts.’
Provides better information for families. Access to health and safety records of providers would be allowed to be shared online. This measure, sponsored by Calley, would allow parents to research potential providers more thoroughly before selecting where to send their kids.
Expands support for child-care providers. Child-care networks would be established to serve as ‘one-stop shops’ for child-care providers to access valuable business supports.
Cracks down on bad actors. Child-care provider applicants would have to disclose ownership interests and partners, closing a loophole that currently allows bad actors to restart a business after their license has been revoked. The measure would help ensure quality care by preventing providers with a history of poor performance from gaming the system.
The bills are expected to be introduced in the House this week.
PHOTO INFORMATION: State Rep. Julie Calley, right, joins Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Rep. Jack O’Malley, and other state officials for a press conference announcing a bipartisan plan to create a more accessible, higher quality childcare system in Michigan.
Calley also invites residents to attend her June office hours in Portland and Hastings.
“I deeply appreciate hearing from our communities and talking with the people that matter most,” said Calley, of Portland. “Sometimes the issues that resonate with everyday people and those I hear about in Lansing don’t match up, so it’s essential for me to be in-tune with the concerns of the people I serve.”
The informal meetings will take place Friday, June 25, at the following times and locations:
From 10 to 11 a.m. at the Portland City Hall, 259 Kent Street in Portland; and
From 1 to 2 p.m. at the Barry County Tyden Center, 121 Church Street in Hastings.
No appointment is necessary to attend.
Calley is also planning a virtual option for community members who are unable to attend in person. Please email JulieCalley@house.mi.gov or call (517) 373-0842 to schedule a Zoom meeting.