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Elevating Early Childhood Care in Bay County: Bay County ARPA Childcare Grant Program

At the Bay Area Community Foundation (BACF), we believe in the power of community, collaboration and change. Today, we’re sharing an exciting update that reflects our commitment to enhancing the lives of our littlest community members.

In collaboration with the Bay Arenac Intermediate School District (BAISD), BACF sought to address the childcare challenges that emerged following the COVID-19 pandemic. Through our Bay County Childcare Capacity Study and subsequent research, several pressing issues affecting childcare in our local community emerged. 

  1. Workforce Shortage: The childcare workforce faces a shortage of available and qualified employees. This results in several providers not being able to serve at their licensed capacity. Providers report that low wages in a highly regulated industry are root causes for the shortage.
  2. Overwhelmed Providers: Childcare providers who are operating at licensed capacity have active and long waiting lists. The demand for quality childcare is greater than the supply.
  3. Barriers to Access: Families in our community encounter significant barriers to accessing childcare, including high tuition rates, limited transportation options and the lack of options for non-traditional work hours (outside M-F, 8 am – 5 pm).

With this data, BACF and the BAISD partnered with the County of Bay to create the Bay County ARPA Childcare Grant Program. This program was designed to strengthen our childcare ecosystem in Bay County by addressing these critical issues.

We are thrilled to announce the outcome of our joint efforts. A total of $300,000 has been awarded to 21 local childcare providers through the Bay County ARPA Childcare Grant Program. 

These funds will play a pivotal role in increasing the capacity of childcare providers, ensuring that more children in Bay County can access the care they need; and in elevating the quality of care provided, building an environment where our littlest community members can thrive, learn and grow.

Thank you for being a part of this journey. We look forward to continuing our mission to build a brighter future for our Bay County families.

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