Even as politicians questioned why a state agency is still operating despite having its funding eliminated by legislators, the Michigan Home Based Child Care Council said it has big plans for the future at its Friday board meeting.
Larry Simmons, chairman of the board, told his board that the agency has “crossed a threshold” and the next two meetings should be used to plan their future vision.
“We exist,” Simmons said. “We are operating. We are beginning to make a difference.”
On March 2, Sen. Bill Hardiman, R-Kentwood, sent a letter to the Department of Human Services disagreeing with the state’s decision to find ways to keep MHBCCC operational after funds were cut.
“I continue to have great concerns about the implications of an agreement purporting to compel future appropriations especially in the (sic) of the Legislature’s reduction in funding,” Hardiman wrote in a letter to DHS Director Ismael Ahmed.
Elizabeth Jordan, executive director of MHBCCC, said after the meeting she hasn’t seen the letter.
“They (DHS) don’t share their letters with me,” Jordan said.
Jordan said the MHBCCC is now going to try to train the 70,000-plus home-based day care providers in the state. She said children entering school from day cares are not as well prepared as those who come from preschool.
She referenced House Bill 5242 that is in committee that would require 10 hours of training.
That would take a lot of employees, Jordan acknowledged.
“I don’t have the money,” she said.
Instead, the MHBCCC would work with organizations such as United Way, community colleges and intermediate school districts to train day care providers.
“We plan to cover the entire state,” Jordan said.
The MHBCCC is considered the employer of the 70,000 home-based day care workers in the state.
It became the subject of a national story when the Mackinac Center for Public Policy filed suit against the DHS when it learned that those 70,000 workers were part of a union. Only 6,300 members participated in the vote for unionizing.
The suit was dismissed by the state Court of Appeals and the Mackinac Center is considering whether to appeal to the state Supreme Court.