Vibrant Futures Selected to Lead Governor’s Expansion of Tri-Share Program in Kent County Aimed at Improving Child Care Affordability for Families

FEBRUARY 22, 2022

For Immediate Release

Vibrant Futures Selected to Lead Governor’s Expansion of Tri-Share Program in Kent County Aimed at Improving Child Care Affordability for Families

Grand Rapids, Michigan (February 21, 2022) Governor Whitmer announced the MI Tri-Share Child Care Pilot Program expansion to include Vibrant Futures as Kent County’s innovation lead and new “facilitator hub” for Kent County.   In last week’s budget recommendations, Governor Whitmer included $2.5 million to continue support for this innovative program that increases access to high-quality and affordable child care through a unique collaboration that leverages both state and business support.  Vibrant Futures will be one of seven new hubs which will expand this program to Kent County working families.

This innovative public-private partnership works to increase access to high-quality, affordable child care for working families while helping retain and attract talent. With the Tri-Share expansion, 54 counties in Michigan plus the city of Detroit will be covered, including Kent County.  The cost share provides support for household earnings that are at 185% – 300% of the poverty level.

“Expanding access to high-quality, affordable child care will help every kid succeed from day one and help parents get back to work knowing that their kids are safe and cared for,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “We must continue investing in programs like Tri-Share that put Michiganders first and help us grow our economy.”

As the Kent County facilitator hub, Vibrant Futures will serve as the intermediary between employers, families and child care providers, and will provide overall management of the initiative in Kent County. Through Tri-Share, the cost of child care is shared equally by eligible employees, their employer and the State of Michigan.

“Vibrant Futures is honored to take the lead in Kent County for Tri-Share building upon our nearly 50 years of service and support to the child care and business sectors,” says Chana Edmond-Verley, CEO of Vibrant Futures.  “The potential of Tri-Share is a trifecta of wins from improving child care affordability for families to attracting talent for employers to achieving better outcomes for children.  After months of the formidable effects of the pandemic, the genius of leveraged investments from connected stakeholders like employees, employers and the State of Michigan can only strengthen our economy in Kent County.”

Tri Share is expected to have a significant impact on talent attraction and retention for participating employers. Kenyatta Brame, Executive Vice President of Cascade Engineering says, “As employers, we know that the lack of high-quality, affordable childcare is a barrier to employment at a time when hiring talent is critical for businesses and good paying jobs are available. This initiative opens the door to the talent that employers need by breaking down the childcare barrier.”

Certainly the pandemic has created several challenges for working parents and employers.  This three-pronged approach to support employees, child care providers and employers will help address the current child care crisis and provide needed support for children and families. Executive Director for Head Start of Kent County, Madonna Princer says, “Tri-Share is an exciting opportunity to expand affordable access to child care for our staff.  We recognize that many of our staff struggle to afford high quality care for their young children and this partnership provides HS4KC an avenue to help our staff with this need.  We also see this as a way to attract talent to our agency during a time when the early childhood field is facing a staffing crisis.”

For details about the Tri-Share program and how employers, employees and child care providers can participate, please contact Vibrant Futures Tri-Share coordinator Ann Kluting at annk@vibrantfuturesmi.org or 616.451.8281 x232 or visit our website http://www.vibrantfuturesmi.org

 

###

We hold the vibrant promise of every child, youth, family, caregiver sacred to ensure vibrant futures for all.  Vibrant Futures creates cradle to career opportunities and experiences that hold sacred the vibrant promise and potential in every child, youth, family and caregiver to ensure more vibrant futures for all.

 Vibrant Futures has its origins in the former Kent Regional Child Care Coordinating Council (KR4C) with child care business partnerships across 26 Michigan counties.  Partnering with nearly 500 child care businesses, we distribute $2.6M in direct cash support to care partners, train 1200 care professionals, and ensure $1.8M nutritious meals are served to 3500 children in care annually.