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State, business leaders call awareness to innovative child care funding model

child holding a book, we can only see their hands.
Annie Spratt
/
Unsplash
Michigan launched Tri-Share Child Care as a pilot program in early 2021 to stem the loss of employees who couldn’t afford day care services. The program splits that cost between the state, the employee and the employer.

A group of state officials and business leaders is calling for more investment in a statewide child care program with a unique funding model.

Michigan launched Tri-Share Child Care as a pilot program in early 2021 to stem the loss of employees who couldn’t afford daycare services.

The program splits that cost between the state, the employee and the employer.

Employees whose income falls within 200 and 325 percent of the federal poverty level are eligible for the Tri-Share program.

Director Denise Smith with the Detroit-based early childhood advocacy program Hope Starts Here says low wages and staff shortages are hurting the child care industry.

“There are child care deserts out there, but Tri-Share can be an oasis for parents who need assistance in answering their child care questions and helping find solutions,” Smith said.

Melissa Trotter is a single mother whose employer in Grand Rapids participates in the Tri-Share program.

She says her child care costs have dropped from $800 to $280 per month.

“Which has been a total blessing,” Trotter said. “I’m able to keep working; I’m able to keep my daughter in a daycare where she’s able to develop and grow in that program.”

Tri-Share operates through a series of child care hubs across the state.

Organizers hope to expand to all 83 Michigan counties by fiscal year 2024.

Kevin Lavery served as a general assignment reporter and occasional local host for Morning Edition and All Things Considered before retiring in 2023.
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