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2021 Accomplishments Countdown: Early Learning & Childcare


December 28, 2021 


2021 Accomplishments Countdown: Early Learning & Childcare 

Governor Whitmer counts down to 2022 by highlighting administration's progress on 10 kitchen-table issues that makes a difference in people's lives 

LANSING, Mich. - The Whitmer-Gilchrist administration is counting down the last 10 days of 2021 by celebrating Michigan's progress on 10 fundamental kitchen-table issues. Today we celebrate progress Michigan has made on early learning and childcare.  

"Every family in Michigan deserves access to safe, quality, affordable childcare that meets their needs," said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. "Through the pandemic, few felt the strain more than Michigan's working families who juggled work and childcare amidst unprecedented circumstances. When we put our kids first, we can deliver meaningful change that makes a difference in their lives and help families get back to work. I am proud of the historic investments we have made to expand access to low- or no-cost childcare and free preschool in the latest state budget and I look forward to more progress." 

Getting Things Done 

Governor Whitmer has continued to put families and children first by prioritizing investments in our children's earliest years. She has expanded programs and made key investments to give every child in Michigan access to high-quality, affordable childcare and early learning opportunities. These actions put children on a path to success and strengthen our economy by helping parents return to work knowing their children are safe and learning.  

Key Numbers 

  • Signed a record $1.4 billion in childcare funding, expanding access to high-quality, affordable childcare-including $700 million in stabilization grants for childcare businesses. 
  • Delivered $1,000 bonuses to childcare professionals. 
  • Expanded access to free preschool for 22,000 more four-year olds through the high-quality, homegrown Great Start Readiness Program. 
  • Created access to affordable childcare for 112,000 more children and their families. Families of four earning up $49,000 are now eligible for free or low-cost childcare under new criteria, boosting Michigan's economic momentum by helping parents go back to work knowing that their kids are cared for. 
  • Invested $215 million to support over 7,000 childcare providers with emergency federal relief through the Child Care Relief Fund 
  • Signed a budget providing an additional $105 million in funding for childcare businesses that accept the childcare subsidy.  
  • Launched the Mi Tri-share Child Care Pilot, an innovative public-private partnership that shares the cost of child care between the state, employers, and employees in five regions  

Looking Ahead 

  • Governor Whitmer knows a child's earliest years are critical and the administration will continue delivering on big investments in our littlest Michiganders. 
  • She strives to connect all families with quality, affordable early learning opportunities that meet their needs, including childcare, home visiting, and preschool.  
  • To reach every child, she knows we need skilled early educators, and she continues to fight for competitive wages and education opportunities for childcare professionals.  

Additional early learning and childcare accomplishments can be found here. 

"Finding affordable childcare for my four-year-old son has been a struggle. I've worried that I'd be in a similar situation when my newborn arrives this winter, especially since it's even harder to find care for infants," said Rachelle McKissick-Harris, mother of two with one on the way, Kent County, and Parent Leader with Think Babies Michigan. "However, I am feeling some relief and am grateful for the action taken by Governor Whitmer and Legislative leaders to invest in and make reforms that will help families like mine access affordable, high-quality childcare."  

"Access to affordable childcare has been an obstacle for employers and employees in northern Michigan for far too long," said Warren Call, President and CEO of Traverse Connect. "Traverse Connect and the Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance are thankful to Gov. Whitmer and our legislative leaders for working to achieve crucial investments and policy changes to help make childcare more affordable in northern Michigan." 

"I see the Mi Child Care TriShare program bringing education and opportunity to families. Employers and childcare centers to work together to overcome these labor uncertainties and get parents back into the workforce," said Heather Bauman, member of the Arenac County Economic Development Board.  "It all starts with communication. When a parent comes to the interview knowing it's 'ok' to have children and that a company, like Vantage Plastics, will support the needs of their family by taking part in the Tri-Share program, it makes it easier to recruit.  This program helps take away some uncertainty and gives them hope that stability is on the horizon. In essence, all obstacles can be worked through together with programs like TriShare and the people/organizations behind them." 

"As child advocates working to ensure every Michigan child has fair access to the building blocks of a great childhood - reliable and safe childcare, an uplifting early education - we've appreciated Governor Whitmer's leadership in winning bipartisan support to invest $1.4 billion in the state's childcare system," said President & CEO Matt Gillard of Michigan's Children. "This is the kind of government reform we've called for and has been desperately needed by our hard-working families. Where some politicians offer platitudes about their love of family, the Governor has delivered, and that action will make all the difference in the future of Michigan's children." 

"2021 will be remembered for a lot of reasons, but in the midst of these unprecedented challenges, we have had some rays of hope. Gov. Whitmer and policymakers stepped up with a $1.4 billion historic investment in childcare. Investing in childcare and early education is literally the gift that keeps on giving. It benefits parents, childcare workers and providers, businesses, and rural and urban communities alike, and by laying the foundation for success, childcare helps our kids now and in the future," said Monique Stanton, President and CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy. "We are also glad to see childcare workers and businesses receive additional support to help this vital industry weather these difficult times. We trust our childcare providers with our state's most precious resource, and we need to treat them accordingly."