by Scott McClallen
Applications are now open for a bipartisan $350 million grant program to support more than 8,000 child care professionals.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer celebrated the launch of the Child Care Stabilization Grant on Monday.
“Childcare is the backbone of a strong economy and childcare professionals and programs go above and beyond every day to care for our kids, helping them learn and grow in a safe environment,” Whitmer said in a statement. “I was proud to put childcare businesses and professionals first in the bipartisan budget I signed in September. By bringing both parties together, we were able to put Michiganders first and deliver every childcare professional a $1,000 bonus in recognition of their incredible sacrifices over the last 18 months, expand low or no-cost care to 105,000 kids, and help providers improve their programs. Countless working parents rely on childcare, and without the tireless, often thankless work of providers and professionals, working families would not be able to get back to work and pursue their potential.”
In September, Whitmer signed into law the Fiscal Year 2022 budget, which prioritized education and child care. Part of the law created the stabilization grants to provide accessible child care in an attempt to lure part of Michigan’s lost workforce back after the pandemic.
Child care professionals welcomed the grant.
“Childcare programs and working families with young children have been faced with a major crisis during this pandemic on top of the already existing long-term childcare crisis. Industry stabilization funding like this is a critical lifeline in starting to move the needle in the right direction,” Laurie Fletcher, owner of a home-based child care provider in Grand Rapids, said in a statement. “This investment will help to provide a lifeline to sustain the childcare programs that every community needs to help Michigan’s families return to and remain in their workplaces.”
Child care professionals will be awarded bonuses directly from their employer and do not need to apply.
“I’ve been serving children and families for over 24 years and the past 18 months have been the most challenging of my career. Funding from the Child Care Stabilization Grant will help me thank my hard-working staff and continue providing high-quality care 24 hours a day,” the owner of L.A.C.C. Child Care Academy, Inc. Laurie Clark-Horton said in a statement. “I’ll be encouraging every childcare program in my network to apply for funding.”
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Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org. Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.
Photo “Childcare” by Grant Barrett. CC BY 2.0.