Cast a Vote to Support Young Kids and their Parents

Prior to the COVID crisis, Michigan’s economy was surging –unemployment was 4% for the first time since 2000. However, labor force participation was still lower for young adults, Black and Hispanic parents, and parents in rural and high-poverty areas. As more families begin to return to work, business leaders and workers alike cite that affordable, quality child care for young children is tough to access and will be even harder to find as long as there is risk of future COVID outbreaks. Under-served parents and their children, including parents working towards high school credentials, relative kin caregivers, and parents involved with social services are at risk of falling through the cracks of this time of upheaval. Without access to high-quality child care, parents won’t get back to work, compromising families’ ability to succeed.

Beyond child care, other early childhood programs work with families to develop skills and access services to promote their young children’s healthy growth. Without them, kids enter kindergarten behind their peers, and stay behind. Third grade reading test scores in Michigan remain troubling, but a looming third grade retention crisis offers an opportunity to rethink how we support the factors that are proven to drive a child’s early growth: their parents, their health, and their social and cognitive development.

Quality Care for Children
Access to high-quality child care has been proven to close gaps in early learning by helping young children develop the social and cognitive skills they need to interact with others along with basic literacy and numeracy. High quality child care is also essential for parents to engage in work, job training, or education to support themselves and their children, but many families in need cannot access state support. Gaps in access are even more ubiquitous to families who are currently eligible for the state’s child care program, including those making just over the Federal Poverty Line, parents working late hours, parents getting their high school diploma or completing a job training program, foster or relative caregivers, and parents needing child care for court-ordered activities. Read more here.

A Healthy Start
Ensuring children are born healthy and are developmentally on track results in a healthy start for young children. This includes access to developmental screenings and services for every family whose infant or toddler has or is at risk of delay, and access to supports and services for parents and other caregivers to ensure opportunities to build early skills and well-being. Read more here.

Supporting Parents
Helping parents to be their children’s first and best teachers results in safe, stable, and nurturing home environments that promote children’s early learning and development. Also critical is for communities to drive resource investments based on their own and their families’ needs. Read more here.

  1. MC Toolkit