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Local Coalition Working to Address Child Care in the Region Releases Action Plan to Support Providers, Families, and Area Employers

May 14, 2024 Regional Updates

The Livingston and Washtenaw Counties Child Care Coalition—a group of local child care providers, families, policymakers, and economic development professionals—has released an action plan to improve the state of child care in the region. The plan includes several potential activities across six overarching action areas:

The plan includes data collected by the coalition that highlights several pressing challenges and the negative impacts they are having on families, providers, and area employers. Families are grappling with limited access to suitable child care options, with many areas within the counties considered child care deserts, meaning there are more than three children for each licensed seat. While supply is an issue, cost was also found to be a major barrier for families seeking care, with the region having the highest average cost of care in the state at approximately $14,000 a year.

The plan also highlights how lack of child care options in the region is negatively impacting the local economy. A recent study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation found that Michigan as a whole loses approximately $3 billion annually in economic impact because parents are struggling to find care and often end up leaving the work force or reducing the amount they are able to work. Many local employers engaged through this coalitions work supported this finding, stating that the lack of child care options in the region is negatively impacting their business or organization as they see productivity, absenteeism, and workers leaving the workforce due to lack of child care that meets their needs.

The report also indicates that–due to a historic lack of public investment and market failure–many child care providers are struggling to stay afloat, which could exacerbate the challenges facing families in the coming years. Further, child care workers in the region make less than $12.50 on average which, makes it hard for provider to recruit and retain qualified individuals.

“The lack of accessible and affordable child care is a major economic issue for our region. It forces many parents to reduce their working hours or leave the workforce, affecting local businesses and the economy. Working collaboratively with public and private partners in our community to address this problem is crucial for creating a stable child care system that supports both families and economic growth,” said Phil Santer, senior vice president and chief of staff for Ann Arbor SPARK.

In the coming months, members of the coalition and other interested partners will be working together to begin moving the action plan forward. This will include local advocacy efforts, the convening of area philanthropic organizations, and bringing employers into the conversation so they have the tools to better support their employees.

Ann Arbor SPARK is partnering with Public Sector Consultants to support this work. Read the full action and stay up-to-date on project activities by visiting