(CBS DETROIT) - Emergency pandemic funding for childcare is set to expire on Sept. 30, and it could have a major impact on Metro Detroit childcare centers and families.
It's estimated more than 50,000 Michigan children will lose access to their current childcare.
"If I did not have childcare for my baby boy, I wouldn't be able to work," Cashia Thomas said.
It's a reality shared by many Metro Detroit families, and a topic that's top of mind for Thomas, a mother of four, as the financial stability of some childcare centers becomes increasingly uncertain.
"Childcare probably will rise because just like food is going up, gas is going up. It's already a matter of time before childcare does," Thomas said.
Reports confirm the cost is already climbing. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the average price of daycare and preschool rose 6% compared to a year ago, disproportionately impacting families of color. Parents could see childcare prices continue to climb this fall as providers boost prices to cover rising costs and federal pandemic aid ends.
"I'm an Army veteran. I served for seven years in the United States Army," Thomas said. "It's a blessing because some of the resources that are afforded to veterans, I've been able to utilize, but it doesn't cover all of my basic necessities, and it definitely doesn't cover childcare."
When Thomas needs additional resources, she says she often turns to the United Way for Southeastern Michigan. The nonprofit has a Connect4Care Kids program that helps families in Wayne County find affordable and reliable childcare during a time when many parents need it most.
"When we're talking about needing to increase the investment in early childhood, it's not just an investment in children or families with children, but it's society as a whole," said Jeff Miles, Vice President of Community Impact at United Way for Southeastern Michigan. "These supportive funds are going to end, and that's allowed [childcare centers] to pay their workers more, have longer hours, have more flexible schedules, and really provide the care that families need."
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