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May 25, 2023

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Gov. Whitmer Highlights Opening of Nearly 700 New Child Care Programs, Celebrates Progress on One-Year Anniversary of Caring for MI Future

State on track to surpass goal to open 1,000 child care programs by the end of 2024, lower costs for families and help them access child care that meets their needs. 


LANSING MI – Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced that 687 child care entrepreneurs have opened new child care programs and an additional 1,829 center- and home-based programs have expanded to service more children—lowering costs and expanding access to quality child care for Michigan families. Today is also the one-year anniversary of Caring for MI Future, a comprehensive strategy with a goal of opening 1,000 new child care programs by the end of 2024. Michigan is well on track to continue expanding child care options, helping parents go back to work knowing their kids are safe and cared for, and lowering their costs.


“Investing in high-quality, affordable child care lowers costs for working families, helps parents go back to work, and ensures kids have a safe place to grow and develop,” said Governor Whitmer, “A year ago, we launched Caring for MI Future and set a goal of opening 1,000 new child care centers by the end of 2024. Today, less than halfway through 2023, nearly 700 new child care licenses have been issued, putting us well on track to keep expanding child care options in every region and driving down costs for families. Let’s keep working together to improve accessibility, affordability, and recruit, train, and retain early educators that live and work in their communities.”


“Child care keeps Michigan working,” said Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II. “Thanks to child care entrepreneurs and the Caring for MI Future team more families can now go to work and school knowing their children are safe, happy, healthy, and learning. We’re not done. Demand for quality child care is still high, and we need more professionals to enter the field. Our team is ready to help them succeed.”


“I am pleased with the tremendous progress towards our goal of 1,000 new child care facilities by the close of 2024. Our team at LARA has helped nearly 700 new child care entrepreneurs realize their dream of starting their own business and another 1,829 child care entrepreneurs expand their existing child care business.” said Orlene Hawks, director of Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. “Over the past year we hosted webinars and child care access fairs throughout the state, connected people with start-up funding, in-person and virtually, teaching, training, troubleshooting, and learning with Michiganders that have committed their lives to creating safe spaces for children to learn and grow.”


“Because of the opportunity provided by LARA and Our Strong Start (OSS), my dream of over 20 years of owning a child care center has become a reality. Because of the grants and help of OSS, I was able to pursue and accomplish this dream,” said Tenisia Evans, owner and operator, Boss Baby Early Learning Center. Evans had owned a home-based child care since 2007 and opened her center in early 2023.


About Caring for MI Future: 

Caring for MI Future is a statewide effort to help child care entrepreneurs open new or expand existing child care programs. In May 2022, Governor Whitmer and Lieutenant Governor Gilchrist set a bold goal to open 1,000 new child care providers by the end of 2024. At the same time, they announced Caring for MI Future—statewide effort to help child care entrepreneurs open new or expand existing child care programs.


With the Michigan Departments of Education and Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, the state invested $100M million in federal Child Care Development Block Grant funds, managed and overseen by the Michigan Department of Education, to improve access to affordable child care options and create sustainable systems to support the current and next generation of child care business owners.


Through Caring for MI Future, entrepreneurs have access to resources to launch and expand their businesses. Entrepreneurs can learn more at and contact an Our Strong Start Navigator to learn which resources are the right fit for their goals. To date, providers in nearly every county of the state have participated in Caring for MI Future, including:

  • Our Strong Start (OSS): LARA’s team of navigators continue to support entrepreneurs as they establish or expand their business. LARA’s team has helped all 687 new facilities and 1,829 expanded facilities with a variety of assistance including developing business plans, accessing grant funding, and navigating the licensing process. Our Strong Start has received 9,758 unique visitors to our website and have worked with 2,647 child care entrepreneurs.   
  • Facility improvement grants: The state has awarded $10.8 million towards 963 facility improvement grants in 67 counties. An additional, 2,242 applications are submitted and being reviewed. These funds are available to help entrepreneurs renovate facilities.
  • Startup funding: The state is supporting entrepreneurs before and after receiving their child care license, including:
  • 882 pre-licensure grants for child care entrepreneurs in 66 counties
  • 196 start-up grants for child care entrepreneurs in 41 counties (available after receiving their license)
  • Business development tools: Since May 2022, 738 child care entrepreneurs have participated in professional development to strengthen their business plan and set their program up for success, including 1:1 consultations, trainings, webinars, workshops, and communities of practice.
  • Support recruiting and developing staff: Forty-two counties are engaging in workforce efforts to recruit, train, and retain talented early educators to live and work in their communities with grant funding from Caring for MI Future.