Don’t Stop Advocating for Child Care Subsidies
(Nov. 10, 2023) The state Legislature is breaking for the winter holidays and wrapping up the formal legislative session for this year, but that doesn’t mean you should stop advocating for increasing state funding for critical child care subsidies. Michigan’s Children urges supporters to continue reaching out to lawmakers – by email, phone calls, or scheduled meeting – to make your voices heard for greater state investments in Michigan’s child care system. Child care subsidy rates, a major factor in child care provider sustainability, were slashed by 26 percent in September when pandemic relief supports ended. An estimated 1,200 child care providers are projected to close their doors in Michigan as a result, unless the state takes action.
Michigan’s Children and other advocates are working to ensure that the Legislature takes up the concern when they return in the new year. Lawmakers’ last session day will be Tuesday (Nov. 14, 2023) though individual offices will still be reachable. Meanwhile, please use the following call scripts and backgrounders to inform your outreach in the months ahead. Questions? Contact Policy Associate Madeline Elliott at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tell State House and Senate Chambers to Move Juvenile Justice Reforms Across the Finish Line
(No updates since the 10/18 update)
(Oct. 18, 2023) The state House and Senate have approved the package of bills reforming Michigan’s juvenile justice system. The Governor is expected to sign them. See our upcoming Bulletin for details.
(Oct. 11, 2023) This week marked movement on a large package of bills needed to implement some of the 32 recommendations of last year’s Bipartisan Juvenile Justice Reform Task Force. In the House, HB 4624 – 4643, have moved to the floor of the full chamber; and in the Senate, companion bills SB 418-437 were also approved by a committee to the full chamber. Among other changes, these bills would provide more funding for community-based juvenile programming as opposed to incarceration and eliminate fines and fees that have trapped families in cycles of debt.
Head to the Michigan Center for Youth Justice webpage for talking points on advocating for the passage of both bill packages through their next stage.
Tell State House to Pass Reforms for Homeless Youth Services
(Update – Nov. 15, 2023) Two bipartisan House bills supporting youth who become homeless, HB 4085 and 4086, passed in the House and moved through the Housing and Human Services Senate Committee on 11/8. Now, they are waiting for action on the Senate floor. Your support could help these bills get a vote.
HB 4085 allows homeless youth service providers up to 72 hours instead of the current allowable 24 hours to find a parent/guardian to consent to services before having to refer a child to Child Protective Services. Youth-focused advocates including Michigan’s Children and the Michigan Network for Youth and Families are urging lawmakers to make the change because too many young people are falling prey to sex and labor traffickers and other forms of victimization when living on the streets. Many who have run away from home or are otherwise estranged from their families are unable to seek or receive their parents’ consent immediately. Shelters often step in to help reunify youth with their families, but some need just a little more time to find a family member. According to Poverty Solutions at the University of Michigan, shelters served only 11 percent of unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness in 2019.
HB 4086 would create a specific definition for the licensure of organizations that serve homeless youth in order to put an end to some recent unintended consequences that stem from licensing changes to other youth-service agencies.
Please support these bills by contacting your state Senator. Find your Senator here.
Act Now: Tell Michigan State House to Pass Initial Bills to Help More Youth from Foster Care Graduate High School
Urge Lawmakers to Help Youth from Foster Care Achieve a Better than 41% High School Graduation Rate
(Update – Nov. 15, 2023) State Senators need to hear from you about three bills that are designed to help improve the currently dismal four-year graduation rate of 41 percent for youth in Michigan’s foster care system. HB 4676-4678 were passed in the House on 11/9 and referred to the Senate Committee on Housing and Human Services. Michigan’s Children has laid out the urgency for acting now in this Action Alert. Please read it, and ask your state Senators to approve these three bills. Then ask your friends and colleagues to reach out to their lawmakers, too.
Act Now: Ask Your Lawmakers to Introduce and Support an Early Childhood Educator Tax Credit
(Update – Nov. 15, 2023) Michigan has not increased compensation for the child care workforce despite Governor Whitmer proposing an early childhood educator tax credit to do just that earlier this year. Neither the state Senate nor the House has introduced legislation to make the Governor’s tax credit proposal a reality.
The proposed refundable tax credit would allow child care, afterschool, and preschool teachers to keep more of their hard-earned wages, reduce teacher turnover in early childhood settings, encourage early educators to pursue educational credentials, and incentivize more Michiganders to pursue a career in ECE.