Michigan’s economy is surging – unemployment is 4% for the first time since 2000. However, labor force participation remains low, especially for young adults, Black and Hispanic parents, and parents in rural and high-poverty areas, with business leaders and workers alike citing the cost and availability of child care as a major barrier. Under-served parents and their children are both at risk of falling behind Michigan’s economic boom. Without access to high-quality child care, parents aren’t getting 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.