FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 23, 2022
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Gov. Whitmer Signs Bipartisan Childcare Package Expanding Access to Quality, Affordable Childcare for Families; Cutting Red Tape for Small Business
Bipartisan childcare package creates a stronger, more sustainable childcare industry with common sense regulatory reform and new strategies to expand options for families
MACOMB COUNTY, Mich. – Today, at the Governor’s Macomb County Address, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed House Bills 5041 through 5048 to expand access to quality, affordable childcare for families and cut the red tape for childcare businesses. This marks the 859 bipartisan bills signed since Governor Whitmer took office.
“Quality, affordable childcare is the backbone of our economy, and I will work with anyone to invest in childcare professional, businesses, and facilities so parents can go back to work knowing their kids are safe and cared for,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “Last fall, I signed a bipartisan budget that expanded low or no cost childcare to 1 in 3 Michigan families, delivered $1,000 bonuses to 38,000+ childcare professionals in Michigan and helped nearly 6,000 childcare businesses keep their doors open. Today, I am proud to build on those bipartisan efforts with a package of bills that will empower more childcare entrepreneurs and increase the numbers of quality, affordable childcare options for parents in every region of our great state.”
“Childcare is the silent driver of Michigan’s economy, and we are focused on breaking down barriers and expanding access to safe, quality childcare for families” said Emily Laidlaw, Director of LARA’s Child Care Licensing Bureau. “Since September 2021, LARA’s Child Care Licensing Bureau has visited a dozen Michigan cities across the state and talked to over 700 people about expanding or starting their own childcare business. These bills help us continue to cut red tape and expand access to care — while keeping safety for kids front and center.”
“As an owner of 28 centers statewide, I applaud this bipartisan effort to strengthen the child and early learning industry,” said Bridgett VanDerhoff, founder and owner of AppleTree & Gilden Woods Early Care and Preschool. “I worked closely with state policymakers to form these bills and make sure Lansing’s solutions match local problems. I stand ready to continue this strong partnership between the field and the state. It is important that we work hand in hand to prepare all of Michigan’s children for a future of learning and success in their educational goals.”
“From the historic $1.4 billion investment in childcare in the 2022 budget, the continued support for and expansion of the Tri-Share program, and these important improvements signed today, we appreciate Gov. Whitmer and the Legislature’s shared commitment and continued collaboration to improve childcare in Michigan,” said Monique Stanton, president & CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy. “The legislation signed today addresses a number of pressing needs, including two longstanding priorities for the Michigan League for Public Policy: increasing infant and toddler care, a huge need in rural areas especially, and establishing family childcare networks to better support home-based childcare providers.”
“One of the most hopeful signs of this Legislative season has been the bipartisan effort by the Governor and Legislature to address the childcare crisis frustrating so many Michigan families and childcare providers,” said Matt Gillard, President & CEO of Michigan’s Children. “In particular, we’d like to call out their work on the Infant Toddler Contract Bill that will create a more consistent childcare supply in each community. Additionally, kudos to both branches for strengthening the ability of licensed home-based providers (the Family Child Care Networks Bill) with dedicated supports they need to serve even more families with quality care.”
“This legislation will play a critical role in boosting our childcare industry,” he said. Alexa Kramer, director of government operations for the Small Business Association of Michigan. “Childcare providers are small business owners, and SBAM proudly supports this legislation to ease regulatory burdens and grow our supply of providers in Michigan to better serve employees and families.”
“Childcare is a top priority for our members, and we appreciate the legislature and Governor taking additional steps to address this issue,” said Rick Baker, President & CEO of the Grand Rapids Chamber. “As we’ve seen, access to childcare is a critical foundation of our workforce, and we know it’s one of the largest barriers to employment.” Baker added that “The Grand Rapids Chamber was proud to support these bills and we look forward to continuing to advance policies that will help increase both supply and access to affordable, quality childcare in Michigan.”
“Childcare providers are finding it difficult to stay open to serve working families,” said Kevin Stotts, CEO of Talent First. “These changes will eliminate rules that overly complicate operating these small businesses and add costs that don’t impact child safety.”
Expanding Access to Childcare
HB 5041 allows home-based child care providers that have a proven record of success to serve more children. A family home provider will be eligible to serve seven children, instead of six. A group home provider will be eligible to serve 14 children, instead of 12. The bills prioritize safety while increasing access to quality child care.
HB 5041 was sponsored by Rep. Jack O’Malley, R-Lake Ann, and a copy can be found here.
“Getting these bills to the Governor’s desk is just fantastic. After years of hard work, lots of discussion, and a great deal of compromise, we have finally been able to get it done. I want to thank the Governor’s team and everyone who worked on this package for their dedication and commitment. I look forward to seeing childcare re-emerge in the state,” said Rep. Jack O’Malley.
HB 5043 increases support for home-based child care providers by establishing Family Child Care Networks. These networks will provide technical assistance and support that is tailored for small, home-based businesses.
HB 5043 was sponsored by Rep. Kelly Breen, D-Novi, and a copy can be found here.
“I hear regularly from constituents that are struggling to find childcare that meets their needs. As a mom, I know these challenges all too well. I’m proud of the work the Legislature has done to expand access and make quality childcare more affordable for families,” said Rep. Kelly Breen. “This bill package is another step in the right direction for Michigan kids and families. My bill focused on providing more support for home-based childcare businesses. These programs are integral to our communities, and they deserve professional development and resources that are tailored for their individual and regional needs.”
HB 5044 expands access to child care for infants and toddlers by requiring the Michigan Department of Education to establish family childcare networks in every region of the state to equitably support home-based childcare providers.
HB 5044 was sponsored by Rep. Ranjeev Puri, D-Canton, and a copy can be found here.
“Signing these bills into law is a win for young and working families across Michigan. Increasing accessibility and affordability of childcare helps millions of Michiganders, especially working mothers who have been unable to return to the workforce following the pandemic,” said Rep. Ranjeev Puri. “The bills will not only benefit working families but our economy also. I’m thrilled to continue the work that lies ahead to ensure every Michigander has access to the quality childcare they need.”
Common Sense Regulatory Reform
HB 5042 lets quality and caring providers thrive by amending disclosure requirements for child care center applicants, cracking down on bad actors who try and game the system and get out of regulations.
HB 5042 was sponsored by Rep. Greg VanWoerkom, R-Norton Shores, and a copy can be found here.
HB 5045 ensures families can more easily access licensing reports for a provider by expanding the type of information LARA is required to compile and make publicly available regarding any special investigation conducted in the last three years for child care centers, family child homes and group child care homes.
HB 5045 was sponsored by Rep. Rodney Wakeman, R-Frankenmuth, and a copy can be found here.
HB 5046 gives child care providers at least 90 days to comply with new health and safety rules.
HB 5046 was sponsored by Rep. Gregory Markkanen, R-Hancock, and a copy can be found here.
HB 5047 reduces administrative burden on child care providers by allowing their health and safety record to be shared with parents online.
HB 5047 was sponsored by Rep. Julie Calley, R-Portland, and a copy can be found here.
HB 5048 helps child care providers locate where families live and work by giving child care providers a safe a path to operate in multi-use buildings.
HB 5048 was sponsored by Rep. John Roth, R-Traverse City, and a copy can be found here.
Governor Whitmer’s Child Care Investments
Governor Whitmer believes that every family in Michigan deserves access to safe, quality, affordable childcare that meets their needs. She has worked across the aisle to put families first by prioritizing investments in our children’s earliest years. These investments put children on a path to success and strengthen our economy by helping parents return to work knowing their children are safe and learning.
Last year, she signed a record $1.4 billion in childcare funding to expand access to high-quality, affordable childcare by strengthening existing childcare programs and opening more childcare businesses across the state. The bill also delivered $1,000 bonuses to childcare professionals and increased childcare subsidy rates to better align state payments with the cost of providing high quality care.