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Child Care Coalition

The Northeast MI Childcare Coalition is working on an action plan to increase the opportunities for the development of childcare centers (stand-alone and in-home) across the region. 

If you'd like to get involved, please contact Melissa Chambers at mchambers@nemcog.org or Click here to sign up for the coalition!

We have wrapped up our surveys for parents, providers, and employers to find out what the needs and preferences are for our area. Here are a few key findings from our data collection results:

  • A child care desert is defined as any area where the ratio of children under the age of 5 in relation to the current capacity is greater than 3:1. We found that 9 of our 11 counties are considered a childcare desert, the worst being Oscoda County, coming in at an 18:1 ratio. That means that 18 children are competing for one childcare slot.
  • Of the child care providers that were surveyed 62% say that they would be willing to expand their business, but they have limited resources. Of those that were willing to expand, ALL said they would have trouble finding additional staff to support an expanded program.
  • Providers are not making a livable wage in this industry, which is causing a huge issue with finding and retaining talent. The average child care provider's wage is only $13.72 in our region; however, these individuals are expected to be quality, highly educated individuals. It is difficult to find qualified providers to work for this wage! 
  • When asked what has prevented them from accessing the childcare that they want or need, 75% of parents said it was the availability of child care slots, and 70% said it was the high cost of child care. Parents are being forced to stay home due to a lack of quality slots being available, which is ultimately affecting the workforce. About 17% of families have at least one member of the household that has left the workforce to be a stay-at-home caregiver.
  • 55% of people have had to turn down a job opportunity or promotion due to child care issues.
  • Over 90% of employers surveyed stated that lack of child care availability affects their ability to recruit candidates for open positions or to retain current employees. Employers are being forced to make compromises on scheduling, productivity, and profitability when their employees are unable to find adequate child care accommodations for their children.

This is why we are doing this work! Think of the child care deficit as an iceberg… all we can see on the top is the lack of available slots for families. In reality, the problem is much larger under the surface: parents are not able to work, children are being put in unsafe child care facilities, providers are not able to find qualified workers, employers are losing qualified staff and profitability, and the list goes on and on!

Below is a summary of the activities to be completed throughout this grant process: 

ACTIVITY 1: Convene the Northeast Michigan Child Care Coalition.

ACTIVITY 2:  Assess regional child care needs (focusing on the child care needs of working families).

ACTIVITY 3:  Evaluate municipal policies that positively and negatively impact child care business start-ups.

ACTIVITY 4:  Establish a baseline inventory of existing for-profit and non-profit child care businesses.

ACTIVITY 5:  Develop a regional action plan.

ACTIVITY 6:  Implement the Regional Action Plan.