Celebrating Increases in Early Childhood Investments in Michigan
Things are looking brighter for early childhood investments in Michigan in FY2016.
Early in June, the Michigan state legislature passed--and Governor Snyder signed into law--the FY16 budget. Despite budget pressures created by the failure of Proposal 1 - a ballot initiative to support a new road tax in early May - lawmakers and the governor affirmed their commitment to wise early childhood investments in a number of ways. Specifically, the FY16 budget:
- Allows more low-income families to keep the child care subsidy when their income increases, so that higher salaries do not create a barrier to accessing the child care they need;
- Increases payments for child care subsidies to those providers delivery higher quality care;
- Provides for hiring additional child care consultants to monitor and license child care facilities (The Legislature went even further than the governor's recommended increase for these consultants);
- Implements a parent education pilot for families and children under age 4;
- Expands home visiting programs to at-risk families to encourage early literacy activities; and
- Continues funding for the kindergarten entry assessment, which would otherwise have sunseted.
The legislature fully supported Gov. Snyder's commitment to improving third-grade reading proficiency through these and other early literacy initiatives for children in kindergarten through third grade. The governor's Third Grade Reading Workgroup recently released its report which largely focuses on K-3, but has one strategy dedicated to Early Childhood (#3). It also endorses home visiting and other early interventions to strengthen parent-child relationships.
The early literacy initiative represents $31.5 million (mostly from the School Aid Fund) in new investments. The child care initiatives add another $13.7 million (all federal money). These investments cover children from birth to age 5 and into grades K-3.
Please see our earlier analysis of early childhood proposals here: http://bridgemi.com/2015/03/putting-a-value-on-young-minds/ as well as our report: Policy Options for Children from Birth to Age 3.
-Peter Pratt, President
Public Sector Consultants
John Bebow, President and CEO
Center for Michigan
(July 6, 2015)