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Finding Your Way - Education

  • Michigan has childcare and early childhood education programs for children that are high quality, and low-cost or free, licensed programs.

    The programs available include:

    Michigan’s Child Development and Care

    Michigan's Child Development and Care program provides supplemental childcare payments allowing low-income parents to work. The funds can be used for regulated childcare in a licensed center, group childcare home, family child care home, or license-exempt care in the home of a relative or by an adult in the child's home.

    Head Start

    Head Start is a free federal program for children ages 3 to 5 years serving low-income families. The program promotes child school readiness, while also giving support to their families. Head Start provides enrolled children and families with a wide range of high-quality education, health, nutrition, and social services.

    Michigan's Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP)

    Michigan's Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) is a free state-funded preschool program serving at-risk and low-income four-year-olds. The program gives access to preschool for children who do not qualify for Head Start or those without access to preschool, because there are not enough available Head Start slots.

    Early Head Start

    Early Head Start is a free federal program that provides support to low-income families of infants and toddlers under the age of three and pregnant women. The program provides a wide range of high-quality education, health, nutrition, family support, and social services to enrolled infants and toddlers, pregnant women and their families.

  • Childcare Programs

    You may qualify for Michigan's Child Development and Care program if you need childcare while you are actively involved in employment, an approved activity, education, employment training (such as a trade certificate or training program), English as a second language class, or
    participating in an approved counseling or treatment program for a physical, emotional, or mental condition. For most families, the department pays less than the full cost of childcare. Families are expected to pay the difference between the subsidy payment and the provider's actual charge.

  • To apply for assistance with childcare payments through the Child Development and Care program listed above please visit MI Bridges. See the chapter on the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services for more information on MI Bridges.

    Access Great Start Readiness, Early Head Start, and Head Start.  Find licensed childcare providers in your area.

    To access Great Start Readiness or to speak with a staff member who can help you find childcare that fits your budget and schedule, call: 877-614-7328

Michigan also has Programs that Provide Services for Developmental Delays and Disabilities

  • Early On

    Early On is Michigan's system for helping infants and toddlers birth to age three and their families who have developmental delays or are at risk for delays due to certain health conditions. It is designed to help families find the social, health, and educational services that will promote the development of their infants and toddlers with special needs. Research has shown that by addressing delays early on - especially between birth and age three - we can more effectively impact a child's development, even into adulthood.

    Am I Eligible?

    For children from birth to three years of age. If you are worried that your child "seems behind" compared to other children of the same age, contact Early On. Sometimes families start by asking a doctor, nurse, or a childcare provider for an opinion.

    How Do I Get Help?

    Visit Early On, or call 800-327-5966,

    Child Find

    Child Find requires school districts to have a process for identifying and evaluating children who may need special education and related services, such as counseling or speech therapy. Even infants and toddlers can be evaluated. They could then receive help for learning disabilities and developmental delays through early intervention programs. These programs help parents find out if their young children are on track. Then, if needed, the programs can connect families with appropriate services early in the child’s life.

    Am I Eligible?

    Every child from birth through age 21 is eligible to be evaluated by their school district if a parent or school suspects a child may have a disability.

    How Do I Get Help?

    Find the contact information for your local Child Find coordinator or reach out to your local school district.

    Individualized Education Program (IEP) Career and Technical Education Programs

    Your child is eligible for special education if they have a disability and need additional services to benefit from a general education program at a public school. An Individualized Education Program (IEP) will be created for your child. An IEP is a written document that talks about your child’s current strengths, needs, and goals for the year.

    The IEP is developed through the input of a team of people, including the parents, the student, teachers, and other people that know the child and are invited by the family or the school. This team will also decide how to put the IEP into action. The IEP is reviewed at least once per year but you can ask for a meeting to change the IEP if you feel like the plan is no longer working.

  • To look up licensing inspection reports for child care centers on LARA (MI Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs) and see if there have been any violations, etc. and how the site addressed them, visit:

    Disability Rights Michigan (DRM)

    DRM provides advocacy services and lawyers advise individuals with disabilities of their rights and responsibilities for their human, civil, and legal rights within the state of Michigan DRM has broad authority to monitor institutions, such as school districts, and advocate for people with disabilities.
    Find more information.

    The Early Childhood Investment Corporation (ECIC)

    The Early Childhood Investment Corporation (ECIC) promotes, leverages resources, and stewards investments in effective and sustainable early childhood work. We promote and steward investments in effective and sustainable early childhood work so that all children are prepared to thrive.

    Early Childhood Investment Corporation

    Michigan Alliance for Families

    A statewide resource to connect families of children with disabilities to resources to help improve their children’s education. They help facilitate parent involvement as a means of improving educational services and outcomes for students with disabilities.

    Visit Michigan Alliance for Families, or call 800-552-482.

    Federal and State Funding

    Federal and state funding for early childhood services is available through a complex maze of funding streams and government agencies. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) provides grants to local, public, and private non-profit and for-profit agencies through the Head Start and Early Head Start programs to provide early learning services to children in low income families. These programs have the overall goal of increasing the school readiness of young children from low-income families. For more information on funding please visit:

    Child Care Technical Assistance Network-CCDF Funding Overview