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Arbor Circle - Quality Learning Initiative

What Are License-Exempt (Formally Known as Unlicensed) Child Care Providers?

The Quality Learning Initiative project seeks to engage License-Exempt Child Care Providers in supports to maintain their status as a License-Exempt Provider and to continue to provide care for families in Muskegon County. License-Exempt Providers are typically family, friends, and neighbors who are able to provide flexible and affordable childcare to families. These providers are adults age 18 or older who are enrolled to provide childcare for up to 4 children at a time and are providing care for families receiving the Child Development and Care Subsidy. The Child Development and Care Subsidy are State funded subsidies that are available to low-income households in which parents or guardians are engaged in empower or another work-related activity, family preservation, high school completion, or another approved activity such as post-secondary education/training. These License-Exempt Child Care Providers are crucial to our low-income families who are working and cannot afford childcare or if they work nonconventional hours where childcare is not available. 26% of these families utilize an unlicensed provider.  

What Does The Quality Learning Initiative Do?

A license-exempt provider is only reimbursed at a maximum of $2.60 an hour, making it hard for them to purchase materials and access supports to improve the learning and school readiness of the children they work with. This program helps provide support to 253 unlicensed providers in the Muskegon area with both materials and training. Supports like curriculum materials, learning activities, and training on the “Triple P: Positive Parenting Program Seminars”. In order for families to have access to quality child care, they must not only be able to afford care, but there must also be quality providers in their community. Participants have reported less stress and know more about how to “parent” children; ensuring children are ready to enter the school environment. 

2018 Story Of How The Program Helped! 

Pam is an in-home child care provider supporting families who receive the Child Development and Care Subsidy. As an in-home provider the base rate before becoming quality rated was $2.60, however, she is only able to bill for a total of 40 hours a week in childcare. As many of us know, parents working full time need more than 40 hours a week in child care to compensate for travel time, meaning Pam does not get paid for that time. Pam began providing child care because of her prior experience working in a school, her passion for children and knowing the area needed more quality child care options. Pam participated in the child care quality rating self-assessment survey and worked on several training opportunities.  In her words, she did this because “Being a rated program allowed me to apply for grants when they were available. The parents in my program were blown away with my grant purchases and how I used those items to improve my childcare set up for the children. I have a new sense of pride showing off my updated environment during interviews with potential clients. Completing my SAS has benefited me because I want to keep striving to do my best and provide the best care I possibly can”. 

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