MI coalition helps get cash influx to improve childcare
Friday, September 29, 2023
The coalition known as "Think Babies Michigan" has advocated for more than $36 million in funding to offer grants to child-care providers for infants and toddlers.
Families with young children from across Michigan have joined the coalition to advocate for improvements in early child care, in terms of quality and affordability. But many of those care providers are struggling to keep their doors open.
Sacha Klein, senior director of policy and advocacy for the Early Childhood Investment Corp., underscored the dire need for this funding from the American Rescue Plan Act.
"Those child-care providers increase the quality of care that they are able to offer families," she said. "It'll enable them to pay their staff a living wage for the work that they do, and reimburse them as 'brain builders,' which is the way we think of early-learning staff."
The Think Babies Michigan collaborative is made up of more than 30 groups and numerous parents. Klein said it intentionally prioritizes having parents co-lead and co-design the policy agenda-setting process.
Although the coalition focuses primarily on making policy changes, Klein said it can also help families find the direct services that are available to support them around caring for their babies.
"We have secured greater public investment for early-on services, which enable families to get the services that they need," she said, "to intervene early if their baby shows signs of developmental delay or disability."
She said Think Babies Michigan aims to increase access and enrollment in high-quality child care and home-visiting services, along with early intervention and postpartum care for low-income families with children from birth to age three.
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