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Our Strong Start

Caring for MI Future Grants Now Open to Apply

Our Strong Start (OSS) is part of the Caring for MI Future. Our Strong Start is focused on recruiting new child care entrepreneurs and helping current child care businesses expand. A team of trained navigators will connect child care entrepreneurs with grant opportunities and work with potential child care entrepreneurs to troubleshoot any concerns they may have about starting or expanding their child care business.  Our Strong Start has technical assistance tool kits, trainings, and other resources to prepare new or expanding child care business owners to meet their goals!

Connect With a Navigator

One of our Trained Navigators will follow up as soon as possible to answer any application related questions. View our Navigator Region Map here.

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**Note – save digital files of approved background check and Wonderschool business plan for upload as part of the grant application process. **

Please follow the steps below to apply for the Pre-Licensure Grant.

1. Start the child care licensing process by completing and submitting:

A. An online child care licensing application here. We know you may not have all the information to complete the entire application- that's OK! (Please note that if opening a Center, details about the facility may need to be known, such as the year the building was built, and public sewer hookup, etc.). The application and fee can be submitted online or with a paper application including a check or money order payable to the State of Michigan and can be submitted to:

Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Child Care Licensing Bureau
P.O. Box 30664
Lansing, MI 48909-8164

B. 10 -15 days after you have submitted your application and fee, the Child Care Background Check (CCBC) unit will mail you a Launch Letter which will include the information you need to create or update your child care background check account. If you have not received your Launch Letter after 15 business days, please check your SPAM email prior to contacting CCBC. If you do have additional questions regarding fingerprinting and background check only, please call submit a help desk request on their webpage Home - Child Care Background Check ( Please note CCBC will not be able to answer any questions relating to the grants.

C. Follow all instructions to complete the fingerprint and background check and print/save your approved eligibility letter for future use in the grant application process. Background check completions may take up to 15 business days to complete.

2. While you wait for your background check to be completed by CCBC, please fill out a form with Wonderschool here.  You will then receive a business plan template and guidance document to assist you in completing your business plan. For any issues or questions concerning the business plan, please contact Wonderschool directly at:  

A. Once you complete your business plan and submit it to Wonderschool, they will review, consult, and approve it.  You will then receive your business plan with an ‘Approval Stamp’ back from Wonderschool that must be saved for future use in the grant application process.

3. Upon completion of steps #1 and #2, eligible child care entrepreneurs will receive login credentials/password from our CCLB/Work Life Systems Office via email from ( You will use these credentials to login to the Pre-Licensure Grant Application. Once you have successfully logged into the Pre-Licensure Grant Application, you will upload your approved Background Check Eligibility Letter and your approved Wonderschool Business Plan as part of the online grant application process (Pre-Licensure Grant Application).

You should receive your login credentials from via email within 7 business days of us receiving your application and paid child care license fee in our office.  If you have not received your login credentials within the 7 business days, please reach out to Our Strong Start via email at

4. Once you have completed the steps above, you should be in contact with your assigned navigator to complete additional steps in the licensing process.  Please remember the goal is to have you become a licensed child care provider.

Pre-Licensure Grant FAQs

Tribal Programs - please view link under Provider Resources

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Start Up Grants are for child care providers who received an original child care license on or after September 9, 2022, to help support the costs associated with opening a new child care business.

Users will login to their Great Start to Quality accounts to complete an online application for the Start Up Grant here.

If you do not have your login credentials, please email for assistance

Frequently Asked Questions

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Upcoming Events

Virtual Child Care Access Fair. 6/10/2023. 11:00AM – 1:00PM

Zoom Registration Link:

Contact Us

Contact your Our Strong Start Navigator for assistance with reporting or email for any additional questions

Frequently Asked Questions for Our Strong Start