Child care is often the single largest expense for working families in Detroit. Roughly half the parents in Detroit with a child 5 years old or younger qualify for some help with child care costs, but often don’t know how to find a subsidized program.
That could be changing thanks to Connect4Care Kids, a new website that helps low-income parents find subsidized child care without requiring them to dig through fine print and several government websites first.
“Quickly understanding what programs you’re eligible for isn’t always easy,” said Jeff Miles, a senior director for early childhood education at the United Way of Southeast Michigan, which runs the site.
“As people start to return to work, we really wanted to make sure that people have a safe way to connect to child care providers.”
The coronavirus pandemic has been disastrous for the child care sector, a collection of mostly private businesses that play a central role in the lives of millions of American children and families. An estimated 20% of child care centers nationwide remain closed due to COVID-19. Enrollment is down at centers that have opened, as many parents remain wary of sending their child back to a classroom setting.
The new site, which launched on July 14, aims to help connect families with providers. Once they’re on the website, parents need to type in their zip code, number of children, and income level. The site tells them whether they’re eligible for subsidized programs such as Head Start, a federal program, and Michigan’s Great Start Readiness Program, then gives them a list of nearby child care providers who offer subsidized services and have listed themselves as open in a state database.
“All of this information exists out there, but it’s in multiple different spots,” Miles said. “We pull all of that into one central website.”
To visit the site, click here.