Bonuses for Childcare Workers Helps Daycares and Families

Teddy Bear Daycare 2Tuesday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced the second round of grants from the Child Care Stabilization Fund. The grants mean full-time childcare providers will receive a $1,000 retention bonus.

The Executive Director of Child and Family Services of Northwestern Michigan, Gina Aranki, says child care workers deserve the bonuses.

“Childcare workers were on the front lines as much as anybody anywhere in the state. In order for people to be able to work they need to be able to have places for their kids,” Aranki says.

The Child Care Stabilization Grant Program is part of a $1.4 billion investment to expand quality and affordable childcare in Michigan. $700 million of the investment has been used in two rounds of the grants. In January, nearly 6,000 childcare providers received funding and 38,000 childcare workers received bonuses. The Century Foundation estimates that the grants have saved 3,567 childcare programs and opened 135,795 slots in Michigan.

Teddy Bear Daycare in Traverse City says the pandemic made things challenging for them financially. When they’d shutdown due to a COVID-quarantine, parents would only pay 25% to hold their slot. Parents who were out of work due to COVID shutdowns would hold their spots for free. The Coordinator for Teddy Bear Daycare, Anna Fryer says without the grants she’s not sure if they would have stayed open.

“The COVID shutdown certainly caused a really large financial stress for everyone in the field and across the community in general. Being able to use that to purchase those things and reimburse ourselves to some of the funds we’ve lost has been great,” Fryer explains.

Fryer says the extra funds from the first round of grants helped pay the mortgage and insurance. She says the Stabilization Grant has been an incredible help to childcare all over the state.Kids

“A lot of the childcare supplies and classroom supplies that we wouldn’t have been able to purchase without the grant has been super helpful to us as well,” Fryer states.

Child and Family Services of Northwestern Michigan helps kids grow and heal from past trauma through foster families and a variety of initiatives. Aranki says she’s grateful that the Governor is recognizing childcare providers for their hard work.

“More than anything it’s a recognition. It’s noticing. It’s paying attention to these people who work really, really hard. [They] provide such an essential service and don’t always get the recognition they deserve,” Aranki explains.

Applications for the grants are now being accepted. All licensed childcare providers are eligible. Click here to apply. They’re accepting applications until May 26th.