FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Thursday, May 19, 2022
AG Nessel Joins Bipartisan Coalition Working to Protect Trafficking Survivors
LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel joined a bipartisan coalition of 41 attorneys general in asking the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to support the intent of the Debt Bondage Repair Act in the agency’s rulemaking implementing recent amendments to Section 605C of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
The Debt Bondage Repair Act was signed into law in December 2021 and prohibits credit rating agencies from providing consumer reports that contain negative items about human trafficking survivors from any period during which the individual was being trafficked. It is a common tactic of traffickers to strip their victims of their financial independence or stability in order to keep them trapped. Even after they escape their trafficking, these survivors are often left with a wrecked credit history that leaves them unable to rent an apartment, purchase a car, or find employment.
“I remain committed to using a victim-centered approach with human trafficking survivors,” Nessel said. “It would be contrary to this approach to allow victims harmed by human trafficking to be further harmed – this time financially – by unauthorized debt taken out in their name by their traffickers. I am proud to stand with my colleagues in supporting the Debt Bondage Repair Act because one of the first steps in recovering from the ordeal of human trafficking victimization is regaining financial independence.”
As the Attorneys General note in their letter: “More than 1 in 4 survivors of human trafficking reported that a bank account or credit card which was opened in their name was then used or controlled by their trafficker. Traffickers can then mismanage the victim’s account, resulting in harm to their credit. This harm can linger for years after survivors have escaped their trafficking. Restoring financial independence is a crucial component of a survivor’s recovery. By regaining control over their finances, survivors reclaim and reassert their personhood in defiance of their traffickers. This takes bravery and time. Without some mechanism to help them, negative consumer reports that resulted from their trafficking become an almost insurmountable obstacle to simple tasks, like opening a bank account, renting an apartment, and applying for a job – all foundational steps as they try to get back on their feet. We welcome the Bureau’s proposal to implement the prohibition against reporting adverse information resulting from trafficking and to establish a method for submitting broadly-defined documentation of that trafficking, as contemplated by the Debt Bondage Repair Act.”
The letter was signed by Attorneys General of Delaware, Mississippi, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
Governor Whitmer Announces Caring for MI Future Plan
The plan sets a bold goal to open 1,000 new child care programs by 2024 through $100 million investment to expand access to child care for working families and support child care providers
Battle Creek, Mich. – Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II, the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), and the Michigan Department of Education announced an ambitious goal to open 1,000 new child care programs by the end of 2024 and launched Caring for MI Future— a $100 million plan to get there.
“Nearly half of Michigan families live in a community without enough child care options to meet their needs. Lack of child care options means families are forced to leave the workforce, work fewer hours, or piece together child care options that don’t work very well for their family. That doesn’t work for kids, families, or employers,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “That’s why I’m proud to have worked across the aisle to secure a $100 million bipartisan investment to launch the Caring for MI Future plan, which will dramatically increase access to child care across our state. Opening and expanding child care programs will connect more kids with quality early learning and help more families return to work knowing their kids are safe.”
“We have incredible child care entrepreneurs across the state, and right now, they’re standing tall for kids on a shoestring budget. The Caring for MI Future plan responds to the most pressing needs facing child care entrepreneurs and strives to create a more sustainable child care market in Michigan,” said Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II. “This plan helps entrepreneurs create high quality facilities, secure early capital, recruit talented staff, and connect with technical assistance before they’re licensed. Investing in entrepreneurs means more Michigan kids and families have access to top notch child care in their communities. That’s good news for Michigan.”
“Quality child care programs are the silent drivers of our economy.” said Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Director Orlene Hawks. “This investment will expand access to safe, quality, affordable child care across the state. LARA’s One-Stop Shop will help child care entrepreneurs find and create safe places to open their business, assist with start-up funding, connect them to child care education grants, and provide ongoing business supports to help them succeed.
“Caring for MI Future supports our expanding effort to do all we can to help our little ones get a great start and help their parents access quality child care,” said State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice. “We have the resources and the opportunity in the state right now to make a significant difference for our children while helping drive an economy that can provide for children and families. This is a great bipartisan investment in Michigan’s future.”
“Bright Lights opened on February 1 of this year and the past three months are the culmination of a vision I’ve had for a while,” said Lindsey Potter, owner of Bright Lights Early Care. “I worked steadily for over a year on the licensing and business startup operations process and am excited to be a part of this announcement that will continue to support child care entrepreneurs like myself and the educators we employ.”
Caring for MI Future is a $100 million investment to help more Michigan families find quality, affordable child care in their community. Today, according to the Michigan League for Public Policy, nearly half of communities do not have enough child care options to meet demand.
To respond, the state is investing $100 million to dramatically increase access to child care across the state and open 1,000 new, or expanded, child care programs by the end of 2024. This strategy responds to the most pressing needs facing child care entrepreneurs and creates sustainable systems to support the current and next generation of child care business owners.
Through Caring for Mi Future, entrepreneurs will have access to:
- Support identifying and renovating facilities: Child care businesses need access to affordable, licensable spaces to care for kids. There will be $51.1 million in grant funding available to renovate and upgrade facilities to meet licensing and quality standards. Grant applications will be available in late summer 2022.
- Startup funding: Cashflow is an ongoing challenge for child care businesses, especially new sites that must incur costs well before they have revenue. The state will award $23 million in grants for programs before they’re licensed and immediately after receiving their license.
- Support to recruit staff: Entrepreneurs can’t open and expand their businesses if they can’t hire staff. The state will invest over $11.4 million to continue our statewide effort to recruit, train, and retain talented early educators that live and work in the communities they serve.
- Business development tools: Many new businesses benefit from support from the state and their community to assess market demands, identify space, comply with health and safety rules—including local zoning, and create a business plan. The state will invest $14.3 million to align these resources and make the startup and licensing process clearer and faster for providers.
For additional details on when specific grants will be available to entrepreneurs, visit Michigan.gov/childcare.
Caring for MI Future is part of a bipartisan $1.4 billion investment to expand access to quality, affordable child care and get Michigan families back to work. Child care is often the largest expense in a family’s budget and one in three Michigan families are now eligible for free or low-cost child care.
To qualify, families must:
- Have a child under age 13
- Need child care because they’re working or going to school
- Have a qualifying income.
- Your monthly income must be less than $2,686 for a family of 2, $3,386 for a family of 3, or $4,085 for a family of 4.
- Visit Michigan.gov/childcare for a complete list of reasons families may qualify for low or no cost child care and qualifying income levels for larger families.