Press Release

Survey Finds MI Families Struggling with Child Care

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A recent survey of over 500 Michiganders shows that parents are struggling to find quality, affordable child care and support more state-level funding for child care. 

During the month of April, ParentsTogether surveyed our members in Michigan to learn more about the challenges they face finding affordable, high-quality child care. We also asked what they thought about proposals to make the system work better for both parents and providers. The 556 respondents were economically and racially diverse, and represented every region of the state. 

Here’s what they told us about child care in Michigan:

Parents are facing deep challenges when it comes to paying for child care:

  • Of those parents whose children are currently in paid child care, only 1 in 6 say it’s affordable. 
  • Two-thirds say it’s either not at all affordable or only affordable with major tradeoffs in their budgets, like cutting back on food or health care.
  • 31% had to work more hours to afford child care, while conversely 35% had to work less hours or stop working in order to care for their children because child care was too expensive.
  • Only 9% say licensed child care is “very available” in their community.

Many parents feel forced to find child care outside the system of professional providers:

  • Most of the parents with children not yet old enough for kindergarten did not have their child in a pre-school or professional child care center. 
  • While some of these parents (43%) said they prefer to have their children at home or with family/friends, 67% said professional child care is too expensive. 
  • Other common reasons given were that it was difficult to find quality child care in their area, or that fit their work schedules, or that their child care provider closed/quit due to COVID.

Parents support bold action on the state level to help both parents and providers:

  • 77% support more of the state budget going to help families afford child care.
  • 64% say child care workers don’t make enough money for the work they do.

We also surveyed child care providers, who are struggling too, especially with the impacts of COVID: 

  • 43% had to close either temporarily or permanently because of COVID and lost income
  • 23% found costs have increased in the past year.
  • 33% say it’s been difficult to predict enrollment.
  • Over half say it’s been difficult to address the effects COVID has had on children’s mental health.

In-depth results:

If you are the parent or guardian of children, does your YOUNGEST CHILD currently attend any of the following? [Choose the option where your child spends the majority of their time]

Do you consider your child care options to be affordable?

What sorts of trade-offs have you made to afford pre-school/child care? [Check all that apply]