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Gov. Whitmer Announces Record Investment to Help Families Access Safe, Quality, Affordable Child Care as Michigan Gets Back to Work


June 14, 2021 



Gov. Whitmer Announces Record Investment to Help Families Access Safe, Quality, Affordable Child Care as Michigan Gets Back to Work 


LANSING, Mich. - Governor Gretchen Whitmer today announced her proposal to invest $1.4 billion in federal child care funding to expand access to high-quality child care, make child care more affordable, and support child care professionals as part of the administration's Economic Jumpstart PlanThe plan helps people go back to work and support their families while giving them the peace of mind to know that their children are safe and learning.  


"All families deserve access to quality child care that meets their needs and the investments I've announced today will make child care more attainable and affordable for Michigan families," said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. "My plan will support Michigan child care businesses and honor child care professionals by providing more financial support and security to providers. I've pledged my support for early educators s and this approach will deliver that support." 


The two rounds of stimulus funding passed through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) and the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) allows for expanded investment above the $241.5 million Michigan receives annually in federal Child Development and Care program dollars specifically for child care.  


"When parents have access to affordable, available, reliable, and safe child care - it is transformative for Michigan's economy," said Lt. Governor Gilchrist. "Under Governor Whitmer's leadership, we have a one-time injection of 6 times the amount of resources that we receive in a typical year for child care. This historic investment would change the lives of families across our state for the better. When we invest into our child care system, we're allowing for parents to work and be even more productive and providing an environment that children can thrive in." 


Investment highlights include: 

  • Make child care more affordable for families 
  • Increase income eligibility from 150% of the federal poverty level (FPL), $39,300 annually for a family of four, to 200% or $53,000 annually for a family of four from August 1, 2021 - September 30, 2023making low or no-cost child care available to an estimated 150,000 more children. Thereafter, income eligibility permanently increases to 160% FPL, $41,920 annually for a family of four. 
  • Increase access to the child care subsidy for student parents enrolled in Michigan Reconnect and Futures for Frontliners for a 12-month period. Individual student parents will leave the program per the exit requirements.  
  • Support for early educators  
  • Offer premium pay for child care professionals with stipends paid quarterly from July 2021 - September 2022. 
  • Maintain mental health supports provided by infant and early childhood mental health consultants for children enrolled in child care.  
  • Stabilize child care businesses 
  • Raise child care subsidy rates by 20% for providers to move closer to the market rate for child care.  
  • Provide business stimulus grants to all child care providers to help them remain open and serving Michigan families. 
  • Expand access to child care  
  • Provide grants to new and expanding sites in communities without adequate child care (10% of the ARPA stabilization grants is proposed to be set aside for this purpose). 


"When our children succeed, America succeeds, "said Rep. Haley Stevens (MI-11). "When Congress passed The American Rescue Plan, we made historic federal investments to provide $1.4 billion dollars for Michigan to improve the affordability, availability and quality of child care for working Michigan families. I am pleased that Governor Whitmer is expanding upon this investment with her Great Start Readiness Plan to ensure that young children get the head start they need to be successful academically. Improving child care is a commonsense, bipartisan issue and I am proud to stand with state and local leaders today to put Michigan families first and create brighter futures for all of our children." 


"Early childhood is a critical time for rapid brain growth and development and we are so glad Governor Whitmer understands the significance of this formative time," said Nicole Hamp MD, FAAP; Early Childhood Liaison for the Michigan Chapter of the AAP. "Pediatricians cannot emphasize enough the importance of the nurturing, engaging, safe and stable environments that early childcare programs provide for young children. Governor Whitmer's plan to invest in our children and early childhood education is a huge step forward for our state." 


"Expanding access to affordable and reliable childcare is such a critical need, not only for the peace of mind of our parents and well-being of our children, but to the economy of the state and county as well," said Oakland County Executive David Coulter. "And, quite simply, it's the right thing to do." 


"Michigan businesses have shown remarkable resiliency in the face of public health and economic challenges. However, it is clear from the ongoing labor shortage that a full recovery requires additional solutions," said Brad Williams, Vice President of Government Relations for the Detroit Regional Chamber. "Governor Whitmer's proposed innovative use of unemployment funds and the Work Share program will help incentivize workers back to the workplace and is consistent with the goals of the Chamber's 100K by Labor Day Back to Work proposal. 


"Child care is the backbone of our nation's economy and sets up Michigan children for successful futures," said Sue Tolley-Graf, Executive Director of Troy Babes in Toyland. "The importance of early childhood educators cannot be overstated, and we are grateful Governor Whitmer is committed to investing in this critical industry." 


The Governor's Executive Recommendation released in February contained a child care proposal based on state and federal resources available at the time. This updated proposal builds on those priorities. With the passage of ARPA, it has allowed for an expansion of the policies as well as adding new items such as paying bonuses to child care workers, start-up grants for new child care providers, and contracting for slots with providers for the highest cost children.