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MiLEAP Cuts Red Tape Making More Families Eligible for High-Quality, Affordable or No Cost Child Care

MiLEAP makes policy change to ensure eligible working parents who are working or going to school have equal access to child care subsidy

Today, the Michigan Department of Lifelong Education, Advancement, and Potential (MiLEAP) announced a policy change to make it easier for more families to access low or no cost child care. Effective February 25, 2024, MiLEAP removed the requirement that primary parents cooperate with the Office of Child Support to qualify for low or no cost child care through the Child Development and Care Program. 

“Under Governor Whitmer’s leadership, Michigan has made significant progress to expand access high-quality, affordable or no cost child care for working families,” said Michelle Richard, MiLEAP acting director. “This policy change will mean more families can go to work or school knowing their kids are safe, cared for and learning.”

MiLEAP partnered with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to implement the change while ensuring families continue to have access to valuable support through the MDHHS’s Office of Child Support.

“We believe children need financial and emotional support,” said MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel. “This new policy means parents can access child care without any delays, while continuing to have the option to get help in establishing paternity, creating a child support agreement, and collecting child support.”

MiLEAP is making this change to align with national best practices and respond to feedback from families, child care providers, and partners across the state.

“More than 1 in 3 children in Michigan live with a primary parent,” said Sacha Klein, senior director of policy and advocacy at the Early Childhood Investment Corporation. “This policy change is a big step forward to ensuring equitable access to the child care subsidy for all qualifying families. We’re working with partners across the state to make sure that families know that even if they were previously denied child care assistance because of the requirement to work with the Office of Child Support, they can now apply.” 

“The decision to discontinue connecting CDC subsidy applications to child support claims marks a positive move toward removing obstacles to care for Michigan families,” said Zina Davis, director and owner of the Children of the Rising Sun Empowerment Center. “A child's access to quality care and a healthy start should not be tied to unresolved child support matters. Our primary focus should be on serving the child, rather than adding complexity to family issues.”

Eligibility for Low or No Cost Child Care

To receive help covering child care costs, families must be working or going to school (have an approved need reason) and meet the following income guidelines:

  • Family of 2 making less than: $39,432 annually, or $18.96/hour full-time
  • Family of 3 making less than: $49,728 annually, or $23.91/hour full-time
  • Family of 4 making less than: $60,000 annually, or $28.85/hour full-time


Families can apply for the Child Development and Care Program by visiting Eligibility specialists will ask applications questions about their child support arrangements, but these questions are not required and if parents decline to answer, it will not harm their eligibility for child care assistance.

Families can see if they’re eligible for low or no cost child care by using the calculator available at


Outreach Toolkit

Local, regional, and state partners can access an outreach toolkit developed by the Early Childhood Investment Corporation to assist with sharing this change with parents and families in their networks.

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