Traverse City News and Events

Local Child Care Study Outlines Shortcomings

Feb. 21, 2020

Local families struggle to find adequate early childhood education options for their kids, while providers cannot sustain business due to costs that are more than most families can afford to pay. Those are findings from a study, "Need for Early Childhood Education in Northwest Michigan," which concludes that local leaders must work together to bring down costs for working families.

The study, conducted by IFF (the lending company Illinois Facilities Fund) with support from Rotary Charities and Traverse Connect, took place across Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, and Leelanau Counties. It notes that limited access to high-quality, affordable early childhood education is a major barrier to economic growth in the region. 

Over the past decade, 30 percent of early childhood providers have closed their doors, including childcare centers on Old Mission and in Suttons Bay and Northport. Openings for infants and toddlers are especially hard to find, and that is the costliest age group for a provider.

The study makes the case for businesses to invest in early childhood infrastructure and recommends having local leaders work together to bring down costs. It also says investments in training for early childhood education workforce are necessary to meet and exceed Michigan quality standards.

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