Families in Ottawa County to Get Help Accessing 'High-Quality Childcare' with State Grant

"It's not like our goal is just to get as many child cares as possible," a Michigan school district's director of early childhood services tells MLive.com.

That's why the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District has been awarded $150,000 from the state of Michigan to create a child care plan for working families in the region.

The grant, part of a $100 million initiative to open 1,000 new child care facilities in the state by 2024, "allows us to look at the current successes, challenges, and barriers to families accessing high-quality childcare for their children," Tami Mannes says in a statement.

There are 21,000 children between the ages of 0 and 5 in Ottawa County alone, but only 11,000 child care slots available for that age group, Mannes says.

There are also fewer available slots for infants and toddlers compared to preschool-aged children.

That's largely due to the fact that you need more staff members to take care of infants and toddlers compared to preschoolers.

"That has an employment impact, because they (parents) either have to find something else or they're going to have to quit their job," Mannes says.

The regional child care plan will involve community stakeholders including parents, business leaders, childcare providers, and school officials.

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