Pilot program cuts child care bills for some Michigan families
SAGINAW COUNTY, Michigan (WJRT) – Raising children is expensive. And that was something that Saginaw’s Tamara Tucker was seeing again.
Tucker was raising his three-year-old grandson Kiyen Khalil after his daughter died in 2019.
âNow that my career has changed, I work during the dayâ¦ I am looking for a quality daycare that will be sensitive to its needs.
It also had to be affordable, which could be a difficult balance to strike.
The Economic Policy Institute think tank said the average cost of childcare in Michigan for a 4-year-old was almost $ 9,000 per year. He estimated the annual cost of caring for an infant at almost $ 11,000.
Early Years Director General for Saginaw Middle School District Erika Taylor said it was a problem for many families.
âIf you have more than one child and they need child care … sometimes you just go to work to pay for child care. “
This is where a new pilot program comes in. The Michigan Women’s Commission said it spoke to women from across the state about economic security and job opportunities in late 2019 and early 2020.
CEO Cheryl Bergman said finding child care had been a problem even before the pandemic.
âAffordable and accessible child care was at the top of the list pretty much everywhere we went. “
The challenges became even more evident during the pandemic. Now the commission managed the âMI Tri-Share Child Care Programâ.
âThe idea is that the employer pays a third of the child care expenses, the employee pays a third, and the state of Michigan pays a third,â Bergman said.
People who worked for a participating employer and were between 150% and 250% of the federal poverty line may be eligible for the program. Taylor said that for a family of four, that would work out to be an annual salary of around $ 40,200 to $ 66,300 per year.
âThey are not eligible for state child care subsidies, but they still struggle to pay to work and pay the high costs of child care,â Bergman said.
According to the Michigan Women’s Commission, the state’s share of part-time or full-time child care costs would come from a $ 1 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He said a third would be paid by participating employers, which could help companies hire and keep workers.
The Saginaw Independent School District was one of three facilitation centers in the state, running the pilot project for the Bay of the Great Lakes region. It included the counties of Arenac, Bay, Clare, Gladwin, Gratiot, Isabella, Midland and Saginaw.
Taylor said employers were showing interest in the program, the first in the country.
According to Bergman, “They recognize that child care is a huge barrier for people who come and are at work and feel comfortable having their children in care.”
Taylor said the hub is looking for companies and businesses that want to be part of the pilot project.
“We hope that somehow creates a sustainable model that can be replicated in Michigan and the United States.”
Which, according to Tucker, could make a big difference for families.
âSensitivity in the process. You know, parents already feel bad because it can be a financial challenge for them. And it’s not that they want free child care. It is the help behind it.
The MI Tri-Share Child Care pilot project was to run until next April. The commission said that with bipartisan support it hoped to expand with additional funding of $ 2 million, as recommended in Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s 2022 budget.
For more information on the program, Click here.
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