A childcare center. Image credits: Shutterstock
A childcare center. Image credits: Shutterstock

“Receiving this grant allowed me to keep tuition low for families and save money to keep the daycare open, when families in our community have very few options,” one Michigan childcare provider said. 


Need to Know

  • Applications are now open to apply for $1,000 retention bonuses. The deadline is May 26. 
  • The grant, made possible by President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan, is available to licensed centers, group homes, family homes, and tribal childcare providers. 
  • In January, nearly 6,000 Michigan childcare providers received funding from the first round, while 38,000 childcare professionals received bonuses.

MICHIGAN—Childcare workers in Michigan are now eligible to apply for another $1,000 retention bonus through the Child Care Stabilization Grant, a Michigan program working  to address a crisis that’s impacting families across the country.

Child care in Michigan costs more than 40% of median income, the U.S. News noted, making it one of the least affordable states for one-parent households. Additionally, a January report by Michigan League for Public Policy noted the state’s early childhood workforce was in crisis due to low pay and staffing shortages. 

The report, in collaboration with Think Babies Michigan, found the hourly wage for childcare workers in Michigan to be just $11 in 2019 with nearly one in five early educators living below the poverty line. 

“I remember how valuable any bit of child care was when my girls were young,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement last month. “Today, I’m fighting to make sure every family has access to quality, affordable child care that meets their needs.”

Started in January, the second round of the grant will distribute a total of $365 million to the state’s full-time childcare professionals. It’s part of a $1.4 billion investment to help ensure Michigan families are able to access quality, affordable child care options. This funding was included in Whitmer’s Fiscal Year 2022 budget that included “game-changing” investments in child care. 

READ MORE: ​​7 Projects to Get Excited About in Gov. Whitmer’s Proposed Budget for Michigan

Applications are now rolling with May 26 as the deadline. The non-competitive grant will be awarded to licensed centers, group homes, family homes, and tribal childcare providers to be used to support operational expenses. Nearly all applicants are also eligible to receive funding for sign-on bonuses to fill staff vacancies.

Michigan has nearly 8,000 eligible childcare providers, including 12 federally recognized tribes. For the first round of Child Care Stabilization Grants, about 5,910 providers applied to receive the $365 million funding. In January, 5,890 of those were approved with only 20 marked as ineligible, and 38,000 childcare professionals also received bonuses. 

These grants saved small businesses and kept families working in every county, according to the governor’s executive office. More than half of approved grant funds (58%) were issued to the counties recognized as “areas of highest need” by Michigan’s Department of Education.

“I live in a rural area with only three licensed childcare programs,” said Jennifer Lundquist, owner of a home-based childcare program in Nashville, Michigan. “My children are older teens and I’ve thought about closing my daycare because financially I can make more money almost anywhere, with prices rising on everything and so many job options. Receiving this grant allowed me to keep tuition low for families and save money to keep the daycare open, when families in our community have very few options.”

The program is supported by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), a federal spending bill championed by President Joe Biden to help local and state governments manage tight budgets during the pandemic. According to the Century Foundation, funding from this grant and other childcare investments from ARPA saved 3,567 childcare programs and 135,795 slots in Michigan.

“I’m proud that we are getting things done for young Michiganders, childcare professionals, and small businesses,” Whitmer said. “With this investment, we will continue growing Michigan’s economy and making our communities stronger.”

READ MORE: Snowy State, Child Care Desert: What’s Being Done About Child Care in Michigan