Skip to main content

Gov. Whitmer Makes $23 Million Bipartisan Investment to Start and Expand Child Care Businesses, Application Open 11/7

New Caring for Mi Future start-up grant helps entrepreneurs start a child care business in Michigan, expands access to quality, affordable care for more working families

Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced that child care entrepreneurs will soon be able to apply for start-up grants. The $23 million dollar in funding is part of Caring for Mi Future—a bold plan to open or expand 1,000 new child care programs by the end of 2024. Applications for startup grants will open November 7th, and interested parties should apply through the Our Strong Start website.  

“As a mom, I know firsthand that high-quality, affordable child care is essential so parents can go to work knowing their kids are safe and cared for,” said Governor Whitmer. “In Michigan today, we have a shortage of child care providers that meet people’s needs in their communities, and I am proud that we have been able to work across the aisle to make a record, bipartisan investment in child care. Together, we have expanded access to low or no-cost child care to 150,000 more kids and set forth a goal to establish or expand 1,000 new child care facilities by the end of 2024 under the Caring for Mi Future initiative. Today, with new funding, we are investing in entrepreneurs to help build a strong child care network across Michigan by lowering the cost of starting a child care business.” 

“We must invest in affordable, accessible child care for Michiganders in every community,” said Lt. Governor Gilchrist II. “These grants are the next step in an aggressive plan to open new child care programs across Michigan. As part of our historic $100 million bipartisan investment in child care, Caring for Mi Future is helping child care entrepreneurs build their business plans, find and renovate space, recruit and retain staff, and more. Governor Whitmer and I will keep working hard to recruit more child care entrepreneurs so every Michigan family has child care that meets their needs.” 

Start-up grants will be available for two groups of child care entrepreneurs.  

  • Child care entrepreneurs who have not yet completed the process of becoming licensed will have access to funding for securing a location, fire and health inspections, and items necessary for opening their business.  
  • Child care entrepreneurs who were recently licensed to help with classroom supplies, staff recruitment, and other costs associated with opening a new business. 

“Quality child care programs are the ‘silent drivers’ of our economy,” said LARA Director Orlene Hawks. “Without safe, reliable and affordable child care, many parents would have fewer choices to support their families, realize their dreams and maximize their potential.” 

Entrepreneurs interested in opening or expanding a child care program and receiving start-up grants can connect with a trained child care navigator to access prelicensure and start-up grants, as well as other business support services, through the Our Strong Start website. Operating under the umbrella of Caring for Mi Future, Our Strong Start is a customer-friendly hub where child care entrepreneurs can access resources and assistance for navigating the licensing process, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There will be two webinars for entrepreneurs interested in applying for start-up grants: November 3rd at 6:30 pm and November 4th at 12:00pm. Interested parties may sign up for the webinars at the Our Strong Start website in preparation for grant applications opening November 7th.   

“We encourage every child care entrepreneur in Michigan to turn their passion for providing quality care and education for our youngest residents into a business.” said LARA Child Care Licensing Bureau Director Emily Laidlaw. “The prelicensure and start up grant funding paired with assistance from Our Strong Start navigators will break down barriers child care professionals face throughout the licensing process.” 

“Child care is important to our family and has allowed me to return to work. One of my children requires specialized care that is difficult to find, and we waited almost a year until an opening for him became available. I’m glad that the state is taking the initiative and making the investment in expanding child care for children of all abilities,” said Jayne Monroe of Commerce Township. 

Our Strong Start  

Our Strong Start is the central hub through which child care entrepreneurs access assistance, funding and other supports in the Caring for MI Future plan. LARA’s Child Care Licensing Bureau connected with hundreds of interested child care entrepreneurs during Child Care Access Fairs held across the state late last year and this spring and cited cost as one of the top barriers to starting a new child care business. In response, the Child Care Licensing Bureau announced Our Strong Start, a program focusing on recruiting new child care entrepreneurs and helping current child care entrepreneurs expand. Our Strong Start supports child care professionals with a team of trained navigators who connect them with grant opportunities, help troubleshoot any barriers in the licensing process, and address any concerns about starting or expanding their business. 

Caring for Mi Future 

Caring for Mi Future is a $100 million strategy to open 1,000 new child care programs by the end of 2024. This is one piece of a historic $1.4 billion investment to expand access to quality, affordable child care for families. To date, the governor has expanded access to free or low cost child care for 150,000 more kids and their families, awarded nearly $1 billion in grants to nearly 6,000 child care businesses, and provided bonuses up to $1,000 for 38,000 child care professionals. 

Lowering Costs for Working Families  

More families are eligible for help paying for child care than you might think. To help families know if they are likely to qualify, Governor Whitmer partnered with the Michigan Department of Education and Early Childhood Investment Corporation to create an online eligibility calculator. Now families can know in less than two minutes if they could get help lower child care costs by visiting   

To qualify for the Child Development and Care Program (commonly called the child care subsidy), families must:  

  • Have a child under age 13   
  • Need child care because they’re working or going to school   
  • Have a qualifying income, up to:   
    • $36,620 for a family of 2   
    • $46,060 for a family of 3   
    • $55,500 for a family of 4    

Families can visit for a complete list of reasons they may qualify for low or no cost child care and qualifying income levels for larger families.