State Rep. Jack O’Malley today was joined by several House members and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, as well as child-care industry and regional business leaders from across Michigan, to announce bipartisan measures establishing a more accessible, higher-quality child care system.
The unveiled plans 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.
“Families need these services – but they have become tougher to find and they are taking up a bigger chunk of budgets,” said O’Malley, of Lake Ann. “These proposals work to reverse these concerning trends for hardworking people. The current system in place is not working for our families.”
“As a working mother of two young children, I have firsthand experience struggling to find quality and affordable child-care,” said state Rep. Kelly Breen, of Novi, who is sponsoring legislation within the plan. “Michigan’s childcare situation isn’t – and has never been – sustainable, and we are working together to make a difference for hardworking families.”
Common-sense regulatory reforms include measures such as a safe path for providers to locate in multi-use buildings to expand access to where families live and work, allowing providers to share certain health and safety records online to help parents access information, enhanced reporting requirements and more concise regulation to let high-quality providers thrive while bad actors are held accountable.
Lawmakers, caregivers and members of Gov. Whitmer’s administration formulated a workgroup at the start of the 2021-22 legislative term to prioritize improving the state’s child-care system and develop solutions. The workgroup devoted efforts to reforms through legislation, administrative adjustments and the appropriations process.
A lack of access to child-care services has become a concerning barrier for working parents in Michigan, particularly for mothers who are disproportionately forced to make career sacrifices in order to provide reliable care for children.
“We have been a long-time advocate for child-care, seeing it as both an early education and workforce development legislative issue,” said Alexa Kramer, Director of Government Affairs at the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce. “This critical legislation seeks to address common-sense regulatory reform and targeted supply building. Child-care is a top priority for our businesses, and we thank Rep. O’Malley for his leadership along with Governor Whitmer on her dedication to this business issue.”
“The Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance applauds the Legislature and the governor for addressing one of the business community’s biggest challenges: quality childcare,” said Stacie Bytwork, chairperson of the Alliance and president and CEO of the Manistee Area Chamber of Commerce. “Child-care is a talent issue and the business community is all-in on supporting our child-care providers so that they stay in business and build capacity for our families to have access to quality care.”
State research has shown that 75 percent of children in Michigan live in areas with limited access to child-care. In addition, ten Michigan counties do not currently have licensed slots at centers that serve children younger than 30 months.
The bills are expected to be formally read in this week.
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