To better understand the current state of child care in northwest lower Michigan and how the community can improve access and affordability, Networks Northwest partnered with Public Sector Consultants (PSC) to analyze available data and interview leaders across Prosperity Region 2—comprising Antrim, Benzie, Charlevoix, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Leelanau, Manistee, Missaukee, and Wexford Counties—about how this region can become a child care leader.

PSC interviewed 12 individuals, including advocates, business leaders, child care providers, and policymakers, to inform this report. The full list of interviewees can be found in Appendix A. This work was also informed by an advisory team that offered feedback on draft recommendations and report text at several points during the process. The list of team members can be found in Appendix B. In addition to local information, PSC reviewed statewide research and data to fill gaps where local data were not available.

This report details the current state of care (including needs and challenges for families and child care providers), describes a potential vision for the region, and identifies specific, actionable recommendations to improve child care for both the regional community and Lansing.