GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The annual Kids Count study, which was released Wednesday, ranked Michigan 32nd among states in child well-being, with one of the contributing factors being a lack of affordable day care.
The study, which measures economic, health, education and family community factors, found the lack of accessible and affordable day care has cost the state nearly $3 billion in additional earnings.
“One of the interesting pieces of the report is that 14% of Michigan kids under age 5 have had someone in their family change jobs or quit a job or even turn down a job because of child care issues,” said Anne Kuhnen, the Kids Count policy director in Michigan at the Michigan League for Public Policy. “And one of the things it does is, of course, hurt our state’s economy.”
The data indicated that women are primarily taking on the burden of staying home to care for kids because day care is not affordable. Kuhnen said that exacerbates gender-based income inequality.
“A lot of moms are starting families and they can’t go to work,” said Jaynie Fawley, owner of Michigan Nanny Solutions, which helps place nannies with families. “They don’t get to return to their career fields because there is no child care available for them or they have to wait a long time to get it or the child care options they do have, like nannies, they can’t afford.”
Last year, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced $23 million in funding for child care entrepreneurs as part of the Caring for MI Future program. Kuhnen said the lack of affordable and accessible day care existed long before the pandemic and cannot be fixed with a onetime lump sum.