For Immediate Release
April 17, 2019
Michigan League for Public Policy, state leaders push for continued investment in child care support in 2020 state budget
New personal videos from real West Michigan parents underscore issue’s importance
LANSING—As state budget negotiations continue in the Michigan Legislature, the Michigan League for Public Policy is releasing two new videos to share some Grand Rapids parents’ perspectives about the importance of child care to local families—and the need for state investment to improve access and affordability.
Hannah G. is the mother of five kids and her three youngest daughters are in child care. “Trying to find child care was extremely challenging. Because I was a young parent, I was still trying to go to school, I was working as well, and…unfortunately chose some child care places that were not of greatest quality because they were in my budget. Right now, for me to be able to afford that quality, I make a lot of sacrifices.”
Courtney M. has three children, including two less than two years apart. “We knew when it came time for child care that it was going to be difficult…We were looking at paying for child care for two infants, and those costs were just astronomical and honestly it just wasn’t even affordable for me to work full-time and pay for child care. As somebody who has focused on her career for a while, that was a difficult decision for me to decide to go down to part-time, because I knew that it meant lost years in the workplace. Everybody needs access to high-quality, affordable child care. We shouldn’t have to make decisions on whether or not we can afford quality or whether or not we can afford [child care] at all.”
“These families may be from my city, but the issues they raise about child care resonate around the state,” said Representative David LaGrand (D-Grand Rapids). “I have and will continue to work to make reliable, high-quality child care more affordable and accessible to all, especially in the state budget process underway now, and these personal perspectives help literally bring the impact of this issue home.”
Child care access and affordability continues to be a high-profile issue for the League and its Kids Count work. In the Owner’s Manual for Michigan policy agenda, the League outlined three ways to move the needle on child care access: Increase the income eligibility cutoff for child care support; increase child care subsidies to ensure that parents can afford 75 percent of the child care in their communities; and establish grants and contracts with providers to increase high-quality care for shortage areas. Helping parents find affordable child care was also one of the League’s 2020 state budget priorities, and funding to improve child care access and early education was included in Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s state budget proposal.
“Next week, our annual Kids Count in Michigan Data Book is coming out, and in it, we discuss the importance of high-quality child care and preschool as the foundation for lifelong learning,” said Alicia Guevara Warren, Kids Count in Michigan project director. “We also look at tangible, two-generation policy solutions that help kids and parents alike, and investing in child care is a big one that helps parents work and supports child development. These moms didn’t just share their stories—they let us into their homes and into their lives, and we are grateful for their voices as we engage lawmakers on the need for greater investment in child care.”
The Michigan League for Public Policy, www.mlpp.org, is a nonprofit policy institute focused on economic opportunity for all. It is the only state-level organization that addresses poverty in a comprehensive way.