MARQUETTE COUNTY, Mich. (WJMN) – For around 6 months, a group of parents, community leaders, childcare advocates, and childcare providers have been attending the Marquette County Board of Commissioners meetings to ask for more funding towards childcare. The County Commissioners previously allotted $100,000 from the American Rescue Plan Act, or ARPA, to childcare. They decided to double the amount to $200,000 at the October 4th meeting

“I think today’s decision is a great example for our entire community, that childcare is everybody’s problem,” said Shilpa Jhobalia, the Parent Liaison for Marquette Great Start Parent Coalition. “It’s business’s problems, it’s nonprofit’s problems, it’s the county, it’s the city, it’s the state. We all have to work together and we all have to invest time, energy, thoughtfulness, and money into solving this problem so that families can return to work. There are a lot of single income families here because there just are not enough childcare spots and we have to address it. It’s also a really important issue in our rural community.”

Some parents and advocates involved in this are glad to see the increase in funding, but they believe there is still work to be done.

“Tonight’s meeting was a success that they’ve allocated additional funds, however, it’s not enough,” said Britta Carlson, the founder of Educational Partnership in the Community, or EPIC, and Med Pros Share. “We need to do more, and we need to keep continuing to fight higher and higher up the ladder so that we can get more funding pushed into our area. Our team just compiled a waitlist of the county and there’s currently, as of today, 916 kids in our county physically sitting on a waitlist.”

The funds will be divided between the ARPA Childcare fund, a private entity to fund 14 more childcare slots, and other applicants that will be adding more slots within 60 to 90 days.

If you want to know more about ARPA, you can find the Marquette County ARPA webpage here.

If you want to know more about Med Pros Share, you can find their webpage here.

If you want to know more about EPIC or are interested in the childcare they provide, you can find their webpage here.