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Our Strong Start

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Our Strong Start

Changing the Future One Child at a Time

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

Connect with a Navigator

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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.

Caring for MI Future

Starting a Child Care Business

Make a difference in children’s futures and in the future of Michigan by becoming a child care entrepreneur or expanding your child care business. Learn more about becoming a child care entrepreneur and how to start or expand your child care business.

Choosing the Right License: There are three different types of Child Care licenses.

A child care center license allows an individual, agency, or corporation to provide care in a commercial space or building for 1 or more children under the age of 13. The children are in care less than 24 hours a day unattended by a parent or legal guardian and the center operates for more than two consecutive weeks.
A family child care home license allows an individual to provide care or supervision for 1 to 6 unrelated children in a private home (where the licensee permanently resides as a member of the household) for less than 24 hours a day unattended by a parent or guardian.

A group home license allows an individual to provide care or supervision for 7 to 12 unrelated children in a private home (where the licensee permanently resides as a member of the household) for less than 24 hours a day unattended by a parent or legal guardian.

**Zoning approval is required for a group child care home.**

Business Support

The State of Michigan has partnered with Wonderschool to help you launch or expand your child care business. Whether you need business support, resource toolkits, a robust and comprehensive business plan, coaching for existing child care business or how to launch and grow your business.

Wonderschool Academy and Child Care Toolkits can help you learn the basics for starting your own child care program.

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Get more information about Wonderschool Academy business training program to help you learn the basics for starting your own child care program. 

Learn more about Wonderschool

MiLEAP has partnered with Wonderschool Academy to bring you four user-friendly toolkits to assist you in starting your program. Now you can access all four Toolkits-Caring for Mi Future, Childcare, Business Plans, and Licensing. 

Get the Toolkit

Refer a Friend to Start or Grow Their Small Child Care Program with Wonderschool and earn up to $500.

Do you know someone who is interested in opening their own small child care program or expanding their current child care program? We'd love to chat with them about how Wonderschool can help them navigate the process and provide grant technical assistance at absolutely no cost to them.

Submit your Referral

Start or Grow Your Own Child Care Program in Michigan!

Join an upcoming 8-week Wonderschool Academy cohort to receive:

  • Training on business basics, the licensing process, marketing, and more
  • Professional development hours in MiRegistry
  • Customized professional website
  • Tech tools to run your business like billing and a parent communication app
  • Access to l:l coaching
  • A space to build community with peers and experts

Find a Cohort

Applying for a Child Care License

Getting Started How to Start the Child Care License Process. An Image of a Boy.

Thinking About Opening or Expanding Your Child Care Business?

Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • Before applying for a Child Care license, you’ll need to find a location, check local zoning requirements (child care centers and group child care only). Consult the Resource Guide to Licensure for more details.
  • Go to michigan.gov/michildcare to start your online application. You’ll need to pay a non-refundable application fee based on the capacity of your child care business.
  • Prior to submitting your online application, you must review the licensing rules for Family, Group and Centers and the Child Care Organization Act for more details.
  • Once you’ve submitted your completed application, the process typically takes 3 to 6 months for a home license and up to 6 months for a center license.

Frequently Asked Questions