Every day parents across Michigan make difficult decisions about who will care for their children when they go to school and to work. Some choose center-based programs. Others select providers who care for children in the provider’s home. Yet others choose to have family, friends, or neighbors care for their children. Regardless of the provider and setting, parents want stable, affordable child care where their child is safe, happy, healthy, and learning. Too often, however, parents experience challenges when trying to access quality care, which in turn makes it difficult to maintain employment or enroll in college or training. High costs price some parents out of the market. Finding a provider on short notice is challenging for some parents—particularly for parents of infants, toddlers, and children with special needs. Finding a provider that is open when they work can be especially difficult for parents who work second or third shift. These challenges cannot be overcome by parents and providers alone. Child care must be part of Michigan’s broader effort to improve early learning and development in our state.
Public Sector Consultants talked to over 1,000 stakeholders statewide to discuss how the state and its partners can help families access quality care at an affordable price. Participants suggested five areas of focus:
- Increase financial assistance to families
- Increase access to quality providers
- Make it easier for providers to improve their programs
- Increase access to quality information
- Support the early childhood workforce
A copy of the full report is available below.