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Caring for MI Future

Caring for MI future mural

Caring for MI Future

What is Caring for MI Future?

Caring for MI Future is a statewide effort to help child care entrepreneurs open 1,000 new or expanded child care programs by the end of 2024. This initiative, led by the Michigan Department of Lifelong Education, Advancement, and Potential (MiLEAP) is focusing on what entrepreneurs need most to open and expand child care businesses—help finding and renovating space, startup funding, help recruiting staff, and support creating a business plan.

Michigan Surpasses Goal of Opening 1,000 New Child Care Programs, Providing More Options for Parents

We are excited to announce that in November, 2023, Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II announced that Michigan has surpassed its Caring for MI Future goal of opening 1,000 new child care programs a year earlier than expected by opening 1,089 child care programs since May 2022.  Since the launch of Caring for MI Future, 1,089 new child care centers have opened, and 2,159 home-based providers have expanded their programs across Michigan. All together, these programs have added 36,783 new spots in child care facilities.

“Investing in high-quality, affordable child care empowers working Michigan families while keeping more money in their pockets,” said Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II. “Thanks to child care entrepreneurs and the Caring for MI Future team, we achieved our goal to open 1,000 new child care programs a year earlier than expected, connecting more young children and families with the resources and tools they need to be successful. We’re not done. Demand for quality child care is still high, child care professionals need more support, and we will keep working hard to improve accessibility and affordability in every community.” 

The Caring for MI Future Implementation Team is so grateful to the support from all our partners in reaching this milestone! Read the full press release.

Caring for MI Future Data

The Caring for MI Future Implementation Team is working hard to support child care entrepreneurs throughout Michigan to open and expand their child care businesses, and to sustain their businesses long into the future.  The following spreadsheets (which are updated monthly) highlight some of the projects and the counties where Caring for MI Future investments have been made:

In alignment with the goal of ensuring all children have access to high quality early learning experiences, The Caring for MI Future Urgent and High Needs Map was created to illustrate the known child care needs across the state in September 2022, using available data about staff shortage, the number of children competing for an available slot and child poverty rates for each county in Michigan.

An additional Child Care Desert Map and Chart have been created by MSU based on the census and LARA databases to show areas with potential “child care desert” issues at the county and zip code level.

Michigan State University has also created a new map showing the current status of Michigan licensed child care providers and their service capacity since July 2022. This map is updated regularly, and was designed to help the State of Michigan identify shortages in licensed child care facilities and to track progress toward equal access, in keeping with the goals of the Child Care Development Block Grant. As of spring 2023, the number of new and expanded facilities, taken together, exceeded the Caring for MI Future goal of 1,000 facilities. 

Our Strong Start

Our Strong Start has a team of trained Navigators ready to support child care entrepreneurs in understanding and navigating the state child care licensing process. They are available to answer questions and to provide information about resources and training opportunities within the child care system.

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Child care businesses need access to affordable, licensable spaces to care for kids. $50 million in grant funding has been awarded for minor renovations and improvements to facilities (both indoor and outdoor) to meet licensing and quality standards.

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Start Up Funding

Cashflow is an ongoing challenge for child care businesses, especially new sites that must incur costs well before they have revenue. Grant funding has been awarded to child care entrepreneurs throughout the state to assist with these gaps.

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Entrepreneurs can’t open and expand their businesses if they can’t hire staff. These funds will continue our statewide effort to recruit, train, and retain talented early educators that live and work in the communities they serve.

Two individuals sitting at a computer

Business Support

Many new businesses benefit from support from the state and their community to assess market demands, identify space, comply with health and safety rules and to create a sustainable business plan. These funds will align resources to make the startup and licensing process clearer and faster for providers.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • The best way to get started is to talk to a Navigator. They can help you start the licensing process and help you to troubleshoot any challenges you're facing. Just complete this simple form, and we’ll call you within 48 hours.

    • If you are a parent searching for child care, visit Great Start to Quality for resources and information to assist you!
    • Learn about how to get support to pay for child care through the child care subsidy program in this Child Care Eligibility Expansion Handout.
    • Use this new calculator to see your family is eligible for low-cost or free child care, or visit for a complete list of qualifying reasons.
    • To apply for child care subsidy, check your eligibility status or manage your account in MI Bridges.
  • Do you have other questions?  Please complete this inquiry form and a Navigator will contact you within 48 hours.