LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – According to a report from the Michigan Department Of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, in the last 10 years nearly 5,000 childcare facilities have shut down across the state.
The governor has allocated $1.4 billion from the federal stimulus package to help the problem.
An issue many people don’t know is that childcare facilities operate with teachers, and most have run into a teacher shortage.
“What happens is when there are not enough teachers, you just don’t get a break,” said Angela Wallace.
Wallace is a preschool teacher at EC3 a childcare center in Lansing.
She says their building needs teachers.
“As far as co-teachers: I don’t have one, and when you don’t have a teacher then you become the everything on everything,” Wallace said.
“We haven’t been able to operate at capacity because we don’t have the staff to really bring all the children in,” said EC3 Chief Executive Officer Elisabeth Tobia.
Elisabeth Tobia is the chief executive officer at EC3. She says when centers close down parents need to send their kids somewhere else.
“It’s still been really stressful on the teachers because it’s been hard to give people time off,” said Tobia.
EC3 froze enrollment for a while because of the teacher shortage.
“If we don’t have the staff we won’t be able to meet that demand,” said Tobia.
“They’re having a hard time attracting workers whether it’s lead teachers or assistants in their classrooms, a lot of this I’ve heard from providers is about minimum wages,” said Emily Laidlaw, Director of the Child Care Licensing Bureau.
“2020 started to show there’s only one county in MI that matched the number of children 0 to 5 who were in need of care with the childcare openings,” said Laidlaw.
Laidlaw says if the federal dollars are approved by the legislature it, could help childcare centers bounce back.
“The appropriation of these federal dollars is going to be a game-changer for kids and families across the state,” she said.
“The idea is to boost teacher salaries so that they want to stay in this field, and we can attract and maintain more workers so that we can have our centers operate at capacity,” said Tobia.
The funds need to be approved by the legislature. The vote is set for September 30.