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Governor Whitmer Delivers Free or Low-Cost Childcare to 105,000 More Kids and Working Families

Two childcare programs are getting extra funding.
Two childcare programs are getting extra funding.(WEAU)
Published: Nov. 15, 2021 at 9:09 AM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WLUC) - Governor Gretchen Whitmer celebrated the expansion of free or low-cost childcare to 105,000 more kids accomplished by expanded income eligibility criteria to include more working families on Monday.

Families of four earning up $49,000 will be eligible for free or low-cost childcare under new criteria, boosting Michigan’s economic momentum by helping parents go back to work knowing that their kids are cared for.

“We need to continue working hard to drive down costs for families and expand access to high-quality, affordable childcare so parents can go to work knowing that their kids are safe and learning,” said the Governor.

“I was proud to put childcare first in the bipartisan budget I signed in September. Together, we lowered costs for working families by expanding low or no-cost care to 105,000 kids and providing grants to improve childcare programs and empower childcare professionals. Countless working parents rely on childcare, and we must continue expanding high-quality care to help every working family thrive. With this investment, we can ensure kids and working families succeed as we continue ushering in a new era of prosperity for our communities,” she said.

In addition to expanding eligibility, beginning immediately, family contributions (the amount parents receiving state childcare support are required to pay toward the cost of care) are waived until September 30, 2022. This lifts some of the financial burdens on the nearly 40,000 families currently receiving state childcare support.

“Workforce shortages have become the top concern among most small business owners. Providing support to Michigan families for quality childcare will make it possible for more parents to reenter and stay in the workforce,” said Brian Calley, President of the Small Business Association of Michigan. “This bipartisan initiative to remove barriers to employment will to be a game changer for many Michigan families.”

“Affordable childcare is essential to building a thriving workforce throughout the state,” said Ben Damerow, Director of Michigan Works! Southwest. “We know parents want to work and that access to quality, reliable childcare is a huge barrier to employment. Prioritizing childcare is good for kids, families, employers, and our economy.”

“Today there are still over 200,000 women who haven’t returned to the workforce. Access to affordable childcare that meets their needs is a huge reason why. Increasing access to state childcare support helps women continue their economic recovery and strengthens Michigan families,” said Muna Jondy, Chair of the Michigan Women’s Commission.

Eligible families must apply to receive childcare support through the Child Development & Care Program, commonly called the childcare subsidy. Families must be income-eligible, have a child under age 12, and have an eligible need, such as working or going to school, to qualify.

Visit NewMiBridges.Michigan.gov to apply today.

Need help finding childcare? Visit GreatStarttoQuality.org to find care that meets your needs.

In September, the governor signed the Fiscal Year 2022 budget bill that includes game-changing investments in childcare and delivers on the kitchen-table issues that matter most to families, communities, and small business. The budget puts 167,000 Michiganders on a tuition-free path to higher-education or skills training, repairs or replaces 100 bridges while creating 2,500 jobs, and makes a $500 million deposit into our rainy day fund, the largest one-time ever, bringing its balance to nearly $1.4 billion, the highest ever.

Earlier this year, Governor Whitmer and legislature worked together to put Michigan students first and passed the largest significant education investment in state history, closing the funding gap between schools in Michigan and including a historic amount of resources for schools to hire more nurses, counselors, and social workers. Early investments in mental and social health help reduce crime in the long run.

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