Rep. Greg VanWoerkom’s plan to help Michigan families find affordable, high quality licensed child care took another significant step forward today.
The House of Representatives approved a bipartisan plan to help build a more accessible child care system across the state. The plan would allow top quality providers to care for more children, boost care for infants and toddlers in underserved areas, and help providers locate in multi-use buildings where families live and work.
The plan also allows providers to share certain health and safety records online to help parents access important information, and in a measure sponsored by VanWoerkom, improves disclosure about ownership. This measure will help high-quality providers thrive while preventing problem providers from reopening under a different name or new location.
“This bipartisan plan would go a long way toward addressing one of our state’s most pressing issues — helping Michigan families find the affordable, accessible child care they need,” said VanWoerkom, of Norton Shores.
VanWoerkom noted that child care is often so expensive it doesn’t make financial sense for both parents to work – leaving many at home and out of the labor force.
“This was a problem before the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s a bigger problem now,” VanWoerkom said. “Our state and its families won’t be able to fully engage in the economy and won’t fully be able to thrive until we figure out a way to make child care more accessible and affordable.”
House Bills 5041 through 5048 advance to the Senate for consideration.
VanWoerkom has championed child care system improvements throughout his tenure in the Michigan House – including significant new investments.
A recently approved state budget measure provides $1.4 billion in federal funding to support child care grants, temporarily increase provider reimbursement rates, and make programs accessible to more families.
The budget plan also includes $2.5 million to expand the Child Care Facilitator Pilot championed by VanWoerkom. The “tri-share” plan involves employers, employees and the state splitting the costs of child care with coordination provided by localized facilitator hubs. The program will recruit and partner with job providers to help employees find affordable child care.
Rep. Greg VanWoerkom issued the following statement today after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer rejected a Muskegon County casino project backed by the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians: