Michigan Surpasses Goal of Opening 1,000 New Child Care Programs, Providing More Options for Parents 

November 29, 2023

State surpasses child care program goal a year early, helping families access child care that meets their needs


LANSING, Mich. — Today, Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II announced that Michigan has surpassed its Caring for MI Future goal of opening 1,000 new child care programs a year earlier than expected by opening 1,089 child care programs since May 2022.

“Investing in high-quality, affordable child care empowers working Michigan families while keeping more money in their pockets,” said Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II. “Thanks to child care entrepreneurs and the Caring for MI Future team, we achieved our goal to open 1,000 new child care programs a year earlier than expected, connecting more young children and families with the resources and tools they need to be successful. We’re not done. Demand for quality child care is still high, child care professionals need more support, and we will keep working hard to improve accessibility and affordability in every community.”

Since the launch of Caring for MI Future, 1,089 new child care centers have opened, and 2,159 home-based providers have expanded their programs across Michigan. All together, these programs have added 36,783 new spots in child care facilities.

“I am proud of the tremendous work we’ve done in every corner of Michigan to help over 1,000 entrepreneurs realize their dream of starting their own child care business” said Emily Laidlaw, director of Michigan’s Child Care Licensing Bureau  “Since launching Caring For MI Future, we’ve made investments in places we know child care entrepreneurs get stuck when opening their new business. We’ve done that through teaching, training, troubleshooting, and listening to child care professionals who’ve committed their lives to creating safe spaces for kids to learn and grow.”

“Childcare is a critical need which supports our talented workforce delivering quality, compassionate healthcare to our patients,” said Ben Frederick, Associate Vice President of Advocacy and Government Relations at Memorial Healthcare. “Caring for MI Future was a tremendous help as we made the decision to tackle this problem head on and directly invest in expanded childcare access for families in our rural service region.  Their assistance allowed us to launch our new childcare academy which now serves both our employees and the wider community.  Because of great partners like Caring for MI Future, we boosted access to childcare by more than 40% in our local community.”


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 by helping 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 programs by the end of 2024. The state has surpassed this goal by opening 1,089 child care programs a year earlier than expected. 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 have access to resources to launch and expand their businesses. Entrepreneurs can learn more at Michigan.gov/caringformifuture 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 1,089 new facilities and 2,159 expanded facilities with a variety of assistance including developing business plans, accessing grant funding, and navigating the licensing process.
  • Facility improvement grants: The state has awarded $47 million towards facility improvement grants in 69 counties. These funds are available to help entrepreneurs renovate facilities.
  • Pre-licensure and Startup funding: The state is supporting entrepreneurs before and after receiving their child care license, including:
    • 1,340 pre-licensure grants
    • 355 start-up grants (available after receiving their license)
  • Business development tools: Since May of 2022, over 2,500 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: More than forty-two counties are engaging in workforce efforts to recruit, train, and retain talented early educators through a variety of activities whether it is apprenticeship work, TEACH CDA scholarships or cohorts.