(WXYZ) – It’s time to learn your numbers when it comes to childcare. The state of Michigan has been sending a lot of money back to the federal government for years that could be invested in childcare. And the pandemic has shown how we haven’t invested.
At Teaching Today’s Youth Leaders Child Care in Southfield, owner Claricha Foster strives to give love, education and care. She has been running the day care center for several years and hopes this year, if all goes well, to make a profit for the first time.
But she doesn’t do what she does for the money.
“What we know about the age of 0-5, we call the critical phase in which people learn to walk, talk and be in a world among others. This is the most important time in a person’s life. Not in life of a child. In someone’s life. It’s stupid that we don’t invest in children during this time, “Foster said.
A graph from the Michigan League for Public Policy shows how, until recently, Michigan has seen the number of families receiving childcare allowances fall along with spending.
That’s because state lawmakers haven’t adjusted federal spending on childcare. Michigan sent more than $ 67 million to other states between 2014 and 2017. Then COVID-19 arrived. Childcare facilities did not have a pillow. Some were closed and others, like Foster, downgraded registrations for security reasons.
“Childcare forces parents to do some calculations. Does it make more economic sense for me to just stay home instead of paying more for childcare than I make on my job,” said Alex Rossman of the Michigan League for Public Policy.
Rossman says the average childcare cost for a toddler in Michigan is $ 683 per month and is often higher in metropolitan Detroit, with Oakland County’s average being $ 894 per month.
Companies that are committed to making work meaningful for people with children. Legislators took bipartisan action last month and raised government dollars to help more families afford childcare so we don’t lose federal funds.
The question is, will it generate enough revenue to help childcare facilities recruit staff?
Ironically, the typical Michigan childcare worker would have to sacrifice about 49% of his or her salary just to pay for childcare, according to data from the Economic Policy Institute.
“Right now, the biggest challenge, and we are certainly not alone, is having the manpower to meet the needs of the community,” said Corey Heitsch, executive director of elementary teaching and learning at Rochester Community Schools.
He said the labor market can pose challenges to childcare. The district wants people to know that it has vacancies for children and educators in its pre- and post-school program.
“Spread the word that we are here as much as you can,” he said.
Shardae Gaffney, mother of three, said, “Our children are everything to us. We want to make sure they go to a safe place.
Gaffney said she hopes the pandemic leads to a long-term realization that childcare is essential to our economy, to benefit not only businesses but families as well.
“It’s crazy that we have to stand up for this at all. Because when we invest in young children, we invest in society as a whole,” said Foster.