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Governor Whitmer Announces Caring for MI Future Plan


May 16, 2022



Governor Whitmer Announces Caring for MI Future Plan

The plan sets a bold goal to open 1,000 new child care programs by 2024 through $100 million investment to expand access to child care for working families and support child care providers

Battle Creek, Mich. – Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II, the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), and the Michigan Department of Education announced an ambitious goal to open 1,000 new child care programs by the end of 2024 and launched Caring for MI Future— a $100 million plan to get there.

“Nearly half of Michigan families live in a community without enough child care options to meet their needs. Lack of child care options means families are forced to leave the workforce, work fewer hours, or piece together child care options that don’t work very well for their family. That doesn’t work for kids, families, or employers,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “That’s why I’m proud to have worked across the aisle to secure a $100 million bipartisan investment to launch the Caring for MI Future plan, which will dramatically increase access to child care across our state. Opening and expanding child care programs will connect more kids with quality early learning and help more families return to work knowing their kids are safe.”

“We have incredible child care entrepreneurs across the state, and right now, they’re standing tall for kids on a shoestring budget. The Caring for MI Future plan responds to the most pressing needs facing child care entrepreneurs and strives to create a more sustainable child care market in Michigan,” said Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II. “This plan helps entrepreneurs create high quality facilities, secure early capital, recruit talented staff, and connect with technical assistance before they’re licensed. Investing in entrepreneurs means more Michigan kids and families have access to top notch child care in their communities. That’s good news for Michigan.”

“Quality child care programs are the silent drivers of our economy.” said Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Director Orlene Hawks. “This investment will expand access to safe, quality, affordable child care across the state. LARA’s One-Stop Shop will help child care entrepreneurs find and create safe places to open their business, assist with start-up funding, connect them to child care education grants, and provide ongoing business supports to help them succeed.

“Caring for MI Future supports our expanding effort to do all we can to help our little ones get a great start and help their parents access quality child care,” said State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice. “We have the resources and the opportunity in the state right now to make a significant difference for our children while helping drive an economy that can provide for children and families. This is a great bipartisan investment in Michigan’s future.”

“Bright Lights opened on February 1 of this year and the past three months are the culmination of a vision I’ve had for a while,” said Lindsey Potter, owner of Bright Lights Early Care. “I worked steadily for over a year on the licensing and business startup operations process and am excited to be a part of this announcement that will continue to support child care entrepreneurs like myself and the educators we employ.”

Caring for MI Future 

Caring for MI Future is a $100 million investment to help more Michigan families find quality, affordable child care in their community. Today, according to the Michigan League for Public Policy, nearly half of communities do not have enough child care options to meet demand. 

To respond, the state is investing $100 million to dramatically increase access to child care across the state and open 1,000 new, or expanded, child care programs by the end of 2024. This strategy responds to the most pressing needs facing child care entrepreneurs and creates sustainable systems to support the current and next generation of child care business owners. 

Through Caring for Mi Future, entrepreneurs will have access to:

  • Support identifying and renovating facilities: Child care businesses need access to affordable, licensable spaces to care for kids. There will be $51.1 million in grant funding available to renovate and upgrade facilities to meet licensing and quality standards. Grant applications will be available in late summer 2022.
  • Startup funding: Cashflow is an ongoing challenge for child care businesses, especially new sites that must incur costs well before they have revenue. The state will award $23 million in grants for programs before they’re licensed and immediately after receiving their license. 
  • Support to recruit staff: Entrepreneurs can’t open and expand their businesses if they can’t hire staff. The state will invest over $11.4 million to continue our statewide effort to recruit, train, and retain talented early educators that live and work in the communities they serve.
  • Business development tools: Many new businesses benefit from support from the state and their community to assess market demands, identify space, comply with health and safety rules—including local zoning, and create a business plan. The state will invest $14.3 million to align these resources and make the startup and licensing process clearer and faster for providers. 

For additional details on when specific grants will be available to entrepreneurs, visit

Delivering for Families

Caring for MI Future is part of a bipartisan $1.4 billion investment to expand access to quality, affordable child care and get Michigan families back to work. Child care is often the largest expense in a family’s budget and one in three Michigan families are now eligible for free or low-cost child care. 

To qualify, families must: 

  • Have a child under age 13 
  • Need child care because they’re working or going to school
  • Have a qualifying income. 
  • Your monthly income must be less than $2,686 for a family of 2, $3,386 for a family of 3, or $4,085 for a family of 4. 
  • Visit for a complete list of reasons families may qualify for low or no cost child care and qualifying income levels for larger families.

Families can apply for childcare support by visiting

Lt. Gov Gilchrist speaks at podium during Caring for MI Future event

LARA Director Orlene Hawks speaks at podium during the event.

Lt. Gov Gilchrist and Orlene Hawks sit at a table with young children at the event.