LANSING, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist announced the launch of the Military Child Care in Your Neighborhood-PLUS (MCCYN-PLUS) initiative in Michigan to make it easier for military families to access and afford quality child care in their community.

Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II said in his press release, “Michigan’s military families sacrifice so much for our state. We owe it to them to boost access to quality, affordable child care so they can focus on their jobs. This new partnership is a demonstration of the Biden Administration’s commitment to supporting military and civilian families. Governor Whitmer and I will continue working hard to help parents go to work knowing their kids are safe and supported.”

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“The Defense Department recognizes our military families need and deserve quality, affordable care for their children in order to be mission ready,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy Patricia Montes Barron. “The department invites Washington, D.C. and all remaining states that operate child care quality rating and improvement systems to partner with us and join the MCCYN-PLUS initiative, so the department can provide more military families with fee assistance to offset the high cost of child care in the community.”

“The Military Child Care in Your Neighborhood-PLUS Program provides an affordable, high-quality education for our children, reducing our out-of-pocket expenses saving our family thousands of dollars annually,” said Joshua Niblack, a procurement specialist with the U.S. Army. “This program highlights just how committed Michigan is to expanding childcare options to military families, especially as we face the challenges of limited availability and rising costs of childcare.”

The program is funded and operated by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), which expanded Military Child Care in Your Neighborhood, the fee assistance program it offers to eligible military families, to include quality state rated providers when on-installation child care is unavailable. This benefit will be paid directly to qualifying child care providers from the DoD.

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MCCYN-PLUS will increase child care options for military parents by connecting them with more quality child care providers and reducing the cost of care. It benefits the broader community by raising the quality of child care for both military and civilian families. And it puts money back in the pockets of service members and their families. With fee assistance through MCCYN-PLUS, families with the lowest income could save up to $1,400 per month in child care expenses.

Licensed child care programs can now participate in MCCYN-PLUS based on their rating in the state’s quality rating and improvement program, Great Start to Quality. Under the new PLUS initiative, child care programs in Michigan can participate if they have a quality level equivalent to  3 stars or higher. Child care providers and military families can learn more by going to the Child Care Aware website for assistance.

At the end of 2022—the most recent data available – Michigan had 4,176 active duty service members and 20,892 active National Guard and reserve members. Michigan joins Nebraska and Oklahoma in launching their MCCYN-PLUS programs this fall. Beginning in 2019, MCCYN-PLUS has been active in Colorado, Kentucky, Maryland, Nevada, New York, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Miami-Dade County.