56K Michigan kids could lose child care in September if federal support funds disappear

This article originally aired on ClickOnDetroit.

COVID-era relief set to expire next month.

Federal funding and programs established to help ease child care costs during the pandemic are set to expire in September, which could leave hundreds of thousands of Michigan kids without child care.

If Congress doesn’t step in to extend the relief or protect the funding, nearly 57,000 Michigan children are at risk of losing their child care. Nationally, 3 million children a at risk of losing care. Sept. 30, however, and could impact children, their families, and child care workers across the country.

With the loss of federal support, about 1,261 child care facilities are projected to close in Michigan, and 4,000 child care jobs could be lost, adding up to about $150 million in lost wages. Across the U.S., more than 70,000 child care centers could close.

Experts say that if the funding disappears, employer productivity losses could amount to $162 million in Michigan, and the state will lose $5.3 million in income tax revenue.

“There’s already not enough child care providers,” said Jeff Miles, vice president of Community Impact at United Way.

According to United Way’s latest ALICE report, child care is the biggest expense for a family with two young children, costing an average of $1,122 each month.

Miles expects some parents will either have to reduce their work hours or quit altogether as a result of the changes.

“Transportation and child care are the two biggest barriers to employment in our region, so we need to make sure families have better access,” Miles said.

Families are urged to act now and to speak with providers to see how the change may impact them directly.

Families living in Wayne County can visit visit Connect4CareKids.org to see if they’re eligible for other state-funded programs like the Great Start Readiness Program or Head Start. Some people may be eligible for subsidies to help pay for private child care.

Those living elsewhere in Michigan visit GreatStartToQuality.org to learn more about available child care, preschool, and school-age programs.