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$4 Million Federal Grant to Help Prepare More Children To Enter Kindergarten in Michigan
February 03, 2023
LANSING – Already recognized nationally for its early childhood system work, Michigan will leverage a new $4 million federal grant to prepare more children, especially low-income and vulnerable children, for kindergarten.
“This grant will help the kids most in need of help entering kindergarten by investing in the early childhood workforce; identifying opportunities to expand access to high-quality early care and education programs; and supporting a comprehensive delivery system,” State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice said today.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children & Families awarded the $4 million Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five Planning (PDG B-5) grant to the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) through Dec. 30, 2023.
The PDG B–5 awards will invest nearly $300 million across 42 states to strengthen their early care and education systems and early childhood workforce. The focus of the federal grant is to improve the equitable participation of children, particularly vulnerable, underserved, or unserved children, including children who are dual language learners, and children with, or at risk for, disabilities.
As part of its grant application, MDE proposed workforce and family engagement needs assessments that would be incorporated into Michigan's Collective Early Childhood Action Plan.
The successful application, among other things, enables MDE to build on its business community synergy to create a family-facing enrollment and eligibility tool for early childhood programs.
State grantees will use the funds to conduct or update a statewide early childhood needs assessment; develop, update, and begin to implement a strategic plan; pursue objectives to help break down barriers and improve access to higher quality early childhood services; and expand or build upon prior grant work, especially in the following priority areas:
- Supporting the early childhood workforce
- Promoting an integrated birth-to-5 early childhood system
- Promoting early childhood program sustainability
- Expanding meaningful community and family engagement and leadership
- Ensuring inclusion of children with, or at risk of, disabilities
- Addressing suspensions, expulsions, and other exclusions
- Incorporating trauma-informed approaches
- Developing and implementing coordinated application, eligibility, and enrollment systems
- Aligning with Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) activities
- Supporting effective and appropriate transitions
- Building infant/toddler care capacity
- Providing services to underserved children
Michigan currently is ranked 5th nationally for its level of early childhood system integration according to a recent Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) report. In 2018, the BPC set out to examine how states manage federal early childhood programs. The report showed that Congress and state officials offered different perspectives. Congress claimed that more children and families could be served if the states used federal funds more efficiently.
The BPC revisited the 2018 report to see how states responded. Michigan and several other states received a special recognition for exceptional progress: Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, North Dakota, and Virginia. Michigan improved its BPC score significantly by drawing down all available federal funds.