Group advocates for early childhood care

A recent assessment of state investments in early childhood education and care in Michigan has revealed a patchwork of publicly-supported child care, early education and family support programs, with most services available to limited groups of families based on varying eligibility criteria.

State investments in early childhood education and care have been reduced during the last several years. "Michigan's fiscal crisis and declining revenue base make it even more unlikely that the state will significantly increase investments in early childhood without tax reform," said Sharon Claytor Peters, President & CEO of Michigan's Children.

Michigan's Children produced the report as part of the Budget Watch Project designed to inform the public and policymakers about the priority given to children in the state budget, and to promote public involvement in the budget process for the benefit of children and families in Michigan.

The report titled, "Beginning At Birth: An Assessment of State Investments in Early Childhood Education and Care," recommends that Michigan develop a comprehensive system of care for children from birth to age 5 that includes a continuum of services for young children and their parents and ensure stable and adequate funding for such a system. To achieve the positive outcomes of early childhood education and care; however, children must be in high-quality settings. Therefore, the state must strengthen and promote higher standards and stronger regulations for these settings, increase reimbursements to reflect current market rates, require initial and ongoing training and technical assistance, and ensure adequate staffing for rigorous enforcement of licensing and regulatory standards to raise the quality of early childhood education and care.

For a copy of the report, please call Michigan's Children at 1-800-330-8674 or log on to www.michiganschildren.org.