Detroit Regional Chamber > Closing Equity Gaps in Detroit > Child Care Costs Keeping Nearly 30% of Area Residents From a Job – Undermining Families and the Economy

Child Care Costs Keeping Nearly 30% of Area Residents From a Job – Undermining Families and the Economy

October 19, 2023

By Dr. Darienne Hudson

In recent decades, the dynamics of family and work life have evolved significantly. Most households need two incomes just to make ends meet, and nearly 40% of families in our region, even those with two working adults, still struggle. Single-parent households – nearly a quarter of households in our region, face even greater challenges.

United Way’s 2023 ALICE report shows that the cost of child care represents the largest portion of the household budget for families with preschool-aged children. During the pandemic, the federal government – understanding the essential nature of child care and child care workers, invested in programs to make this vital service more affordable. Like many COVID-era interventions, this increased support recently ended, putting even greater pressure on the economy, providers, families and most concerningly, our children. While state leaders have responded by increasing Michigan’s investment in the child care system, a systemic funding gap persists.

According to the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Detroit Resident Voices Survey Report, 27% of households in the Detroit area face challenges in finding or keeping a job due to child care issues.   

This crisis demands our attention. Local communities, state government, and businesses large and small all have a vested interest in providing every family access to quality child care. It is these early experiences that set the stage for lifelong learning, and the security of knowing a child is cared for in a safe environment allows parents to focus on work and achieving goals that lead to long-term stability.

United Way for Southeastern Michigan excels at bringing together stakeholders to solve complex issues. And our Connect4Care Kids program offers free online tools that help parents and caregivers find affordable child care options in Wayne County. This is a helpful tool, but we need a long-term systemic solution to this problem to ensure stable income for families, a strong workforce, a stable economy, and most importantly − a brighter future for our children.

Darienne Hudson

Dr. Darienne Hudson

Dr. Darienne Hudson is President and Chief Executive Officer of United Way for Southeastern Michigan.

The Detroit Resident Voices Survey Report highlights Detroiters’ daily experiences and perceptions and elevates issues that are central to their quality of life. Released by the Detroit Regional Chamber and Gallup Center on Black Voices, the survey report provides insights that can be used in the public, private, and philanthropic sectors to develop new programs and initiatives to identify and close racial equity gaps. It is part of the Chamber’s Racial Justice and Economic Equity Initiative.