State Rep. Rodney Wakeman – chair of the House Families, Children and Seniors Committee – today lead the committee in voting to improve access to affordable childcare in Michigan.
Wakeman said the bipartisan proposal provides much-needed flexibility to help providers start – and stay in – business while continuing to prioritize the safety of Michigan children.
“Access to affordable and reliable child care continues to be one of the biggest barriers that keeps parents out of the workforce,” said Wakeman, of Saginaw Township. “I hear from so many moms and dads who can’t find a child-care provider they can afford, or there’s not one close by that they can trust. We need more convenient and affordable child-care options that work for Michigan families, and to accomplish that we must create an environment where providers can succeed.”
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.
The plan Wakeman is backing includes 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.
House Bills 5041-48 now advance to the full House for consideration.
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
State Rep. Rodney Wakeman, chair of the House Families, Children and Seniors Committee, this week helped lead the House in approving a plan to improve the state’s Child Abuse and Neglect Central Registry system.
State Rep. Rodney Wakeman of Saginaw Township today unveiled a report compiled by the bipartisan House Adoption and Foster Care Task Force after months of meetings with stakeholders, experts, and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).