General
Head Start
Great Start Readiness Program
MDHHS Subsidy
Great Start To Quality
What is Connect4Care Kids?

Connect4Care Kids is a centralized resource from the United Way of Southeastern Michigan to help families with young children understand child care assistance options and connect with child care providers across Wayne County.

More than 60 percent of children age 5 and younger in Wayne County qualify for some type of assistance with child care costs. Find the right child care option for your family.

Connect4Care Kids helps Wayne County parents/caregivers with a child age 5 or younger:

  • Search for centers near home, work or school
  • Check if you are eligible for program options by answering a few questions
  • Connect with programs that match your family’s needs

 


Connect4Care Kids is Funded in part by CNCS. The Corporation for National and Community Service is the federal agency for volunteering, service, and civic engagement. The agency engages millions of Americans in citizen service through its AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and Volunteer Generation Fund programs, and leads the nation’s volunteering and service efforts. For more information, visit NationalService.gov.
How can I find out if my family can get help paying for child care?

Through a short series of questions, Connect4Care Kids helps low-income Wayne County families with children age 5 and younger find child care programs that match their needs. Answering a few questions about your family and income helps us find out if you can get help paying for child care.

How do I know if I qualify for affordable or free child care programs?

Many Wayne County families qualify for some type of assistance with child care costs. You can use Connect4CareKids.org to check your eligibility for different programs such as Early Head Start, Head Start, the Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP), and the MDHHS child care subsidy.

Eligibility is frequently based on household income and the child’s age, although there can be other qualifying factors. It’s complicated, but Connect4Care Kids makes it easy for families to find out their eligibility.

Early Head Start and Head Start are federal programs serving families with low-income who have a child age 5 or younger at no cost.

GSRP is the state’s free preschool program for 4-year-olds. There are efforts to expand funding for GSRP for the coming school year, so if you have a preschooler, apply now.

If you don’t qualify for these programs, and you’re going to work or school, you may qualify for the MDHHS subsidy. It helps cover some of the costs of child care. There are a few steps to this process that Connect4Care Kids explains step-by-step.

We’re here to help. Start your search today for early childhood learning and care at Connect4CareKids.org or by texting KIDS to 42273.

What programs does Connect4Care Kids work with?

Connect4Care Kids works with four no-cost or reduced-cost child care programs.

Head Start

Head Start is an early education program for children ages 3 to 5 that is available at no cost to low-income families. It teaches in-depth early childhood skills, and helps with health and nutrition. Head Start encourages parents or caregivers to be involved. There are multiple Head Start child care facilities in Wayne County.

Head Start is federally funded through the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

Learn More

 

Early Head Start

Early Head Start is the same as Head Start, but is for pregnant mothers and children up to age 3.

Learn More

 

Great Start Readiness Program

The Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) is a no-cost or reduced-cost preschool program for 4-year-olds. Children can attend a GSRP preschool if they are not eligible for Head Start or cannot find a spot. There are multiple GSRP child care facilities in Wayne County.

The program is funded by the state of Michigan and is run by the Michigan Department of Education, Office of Great Start.

Learn More

 

MDHHS Subsidy

The MDHHS subsidy program, also known as the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Child Development and Care program (CDC), helps pay for child care so low-income parents can go to work, school, job training, counseling or treatment programs. Some families can get child care at no cost based on income and other factors. Others get reduced-cost child care.

Families can use this program at a variety of centers rated 3 or more stars by Great Start to Quality. The state pays the child care provider a subsidy, or reimbursement. Parents must pay the provider the rest of the amount.

Families can not use the MDHHS subsidy at Early Head Start, Head Start or GRSP because these programs are already available at no cost. Families might be able to use the MDHHS subsidy for time before and after school (wrap-around hours) at certain locations.

Learn More

When does child care open in the fall?

It depends on your child care provider. Most Head Start centers start their fall programs around Labor Day, similar to most school districts. Great Start Readiness Programs (GSRP) start dates vary, anytime from early September to October 1.

Remember, Head Start is the federal program for qualifying children ages 3 to 5 and GRSP is the state-funded preschool program for qualifying 4-year-olds.

Most Early Head Start programs, for children birth to age 3, run year-round. Private child care programs will vary, but most offer care year-round.

Don’t wait to enroll though! All these programs enroll whenever there is an opening. To make sure your child has a seat for the fall, start your search today on Connect4CareKids.org or text KIDS to 42273.

When does enrollment start?

Apply now. Seats fill up quickly and you do not want to wait until it is too late. Providers are calling parents back now to complete enrollment. Start your search today at Connect4CareKids.org or by texting KIDS to 42273.

Be prepared to share the documentation that is needed to complete enrollment. You’ll need several items including your child’s birth certificate, your proof of income and your child’s health appraisal and immunizations. Often providers can help you secure these, if needed.

How long after I apply does it take for my child to be in a program?

Connect4Care Kids can help you connect with child care centers that have openings. Once you decide where you want your child to go, the center will confirm your eligibility and complete enrollment. This includes collecting the paperwork that they need, such as your child’s birth certificate, your proof of income and your child’s health appraisal and immunizations. Sometimes the center can help you find the documents you need.

With Early Head Start, Head Start and the Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP), this process can take a few days or a few weeks to complete based on your paperwork.

If you qualify for the MDHHS subsidy, it will take the State 30 to 45 days to process your application. You’ll want to read through their form thoroughly. They will tell you what the State will pay and what you will need to pay. You can help this process go faster by making sure you have all of your paperwork ready and finding a child care provider that accepts the MDHHS child care subsidy. We can help you navigate this.

Don’t wait. Get started today at Connect4CareKids.org or by texting KIDS to 42273.

Where and how do you access care that has non-traditional hours? I work shifts at the plant and my schedule is not 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Most Early Head Start, Head Start and Great Start Readiness Programs (GSRP), which offer no- or low-cost learning and care for young children, operate during traditional school hours. Providers who accept the MDHHS subsidy may provide care during non-traditional hours. Use the Locations map to search for care near you.

Is there anywhere I can go to speak to someone about my child care options?

Connect4Care Kids is designed to be a quick and easy way for parents and caregivers to search for child care locations, check their eligibility for programs that assist with child care costs, and help start the application process so that they hear back from providers with openings. It’s available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in English, Spanish and Arabic at Connect4CareKids.org or by texting KIDS to 42273.

If parents or caregivers don’t want to use this or have additional questions after using Connect4CareKids, they can reach out to our early childhood learning and care specialist at 313-395-3776 or email Connect4CareKids@UnitedWaySEM.org.

I don’t have some of the documents that the child care program said I need. Is there somewhere I can get help getting my child’s birth certificate and immunization records?

Some providers may be able to help you secure these documents. There are small fees for getting your child’s birth certificate. It’s alway beneficial to have a connection with a primary care provider. If you need help, United Way may be able to help as well.

Is it safe to enroll my child in care/preschool?

Licensed child care providers are working closely with local and state health care officials to follow current safety protocols designed to keep children and staff safe. Talk to your child care provider about what safety protocols they have in place. They will have a written plan they can give you. This might include frequent hand washing, limited access to the building, exposure screenings, a mask policy and/or vaccination guidance.

Also, talk to your pediatrician, especially if you have specific health concerns. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have released statements in support of  in-person learning.

Ultimately, parents and caregivers will decide what is best for their child’s and their family’s needs and health considerations.

How will all the funds that we are hearing about impact me as a parent? Am I eligible for affordable or free child care programs that I wasn’t eligible for before?

There are a lot of discussions taking place at the moment regarding how to use new state and federal funding and how it might be used to assist families with child care costs, among other needs. These are ongoing conversations at the local and state level and include everything from increasing the number of Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) classrooms to raising the income cap to qualify for the MDHHS child care subsidy.

United Way monitors these conversations closely and will update the Connect4Care Kids eligibility check as changes are confirmed by local, state and federal officials. The easiest and quickest way for Wayne County families with a child age 5 or younger to find out what programs they might qualify for is to visit Connect4CareKids.org or text KIDS to 42273.

Early Head Start and Head Start Overview

Early Head Start and Head Start are early education programs that are federally funded through the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Both programs provide in-depth early childhood education, and health and nutrition assistance. Both also encourage parent or caregiver involvement.

Search for Early Head Start and Head Start locations near you using the Connect4Care Kids Locations map.

Program Information

How much do Early Head Start and Head Start cost?

Head Start is available at no cost to families who qualify. It is funded by the federal government.

 

How old are children in Early Head Start and Head Start?

Early Head Start serves pregnant mothers and infants and toddlers up to age 3. Head Start serves children ages 3 to 5. Both programs also support the whole family with various services.

 

What are full-day and home-based programs?

Children from infancy to age 5 can attend full-day center-based care. Each center has its own hours, typically 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., but this varies.

Children from birth to age 3 can participate in the home-based program. A well-trained teacher visits the home once per week to lead learning activities.

 

What services are offered through Early Head Start and Head Start?

  • Individual learning plans for each child
  • Healthy snacks and meals
  • Family goal-setting and support
  • Services for children with special needs
  • Prenatal services for pregnant women
  • Developmental screenings
  • Medical and dental support
  • Mental health services
  • Social service referrals and support
  • Parent leadership and learning opportunities
  • Support services for the whole family, including fathers

 

What is a Child Care Partnership?

A Child Care Partnership is when a Head Start provider works with a neighborhood child care center to provide Early Head Start programs (birth to age 3). These classrooms have the same requirements for teachers, curriculum and safety as other Head Start locations. They also have longer hours since the classrooms are located within a child care center.

 

Do parents/caregivers have to volunteer in order to be a part of Early Head Start and Head Start?

Yes, families have to participate in the Head Start community. Most parents and caregivers have a good time volunteering because they get to watch their children grow in a supportive classroom. There are a few ways parents and caregivers can volunteer:

  • Help with classroom activities
  • Assist with serving meals
  • Organize special events
  • Help make decisions about Head Start through Policy Councils and Policy Committees

 

What will my child learn in Early Head Start and Head Start?

Children in Early Head Start and Head Start have direct, hands-on experiences with language, communication, math, creative arts, science, technology and social studies. Early Head Start and Head Start teachers help children explore many different types of play and learning inside a safe and clean classroom.

 

Can Early Head Start and Head Start help if my child has special needs?

Yes! The program encourages you to apply if your child has a disability or developmental, social or emotional delays. Early Head Start and Head Start make an extra effort to make sure that children with special needs get the support they need and feel like they are part of the classroom.

Eligibility and Enrollment Information

How do families qualify?

Most families qualify based on income at or below the federal poverty line. However, there are many other ways for families to qualify for Early Head Start and Head Start. Providers will require proof to complete your child’s enrollment.

You may also qualify if any of the following statements applies to you or your family includes a foster parent or a child with special needs, if your family is experiencing homelessness, or if your family receives TANF or SSI Benefits (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or Supplemental Security Income Benefits).

Check your eligibility and start the application process.

 

How do families apply?

Parents and caregivers can check their eligibility and/or start the application process with Early Head Start and Head Start through Connect4Care Kids. Families can enroll at any time during the year. It is best to apply during the summer to save a seat for the school year.

Check your eligibility and start the application process.

Your application will immediately be shared with Early Head Start and Head Start providers near you. Those with openings for your child’s age will follow up with you directly using the contact information that you provide on the form. Be prepared to share the necessary proof with providers to complete your child’s enrollment. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Age of child (birth certificate, birth verification, baptismal certificate, passport, etc.)
  • Driver’s license or state identification
  • Proof of income (1040 tax document, W2, paycheck stub, SSI documentation, etc.)
  • Health appraisal and proof of immunizations

Services for Children with Special Needs

Can Early Head Start and Head Start help if my child has special needs?

Yes! The program encourages you to apply if your child has a disability or developmental, social or emotional delays. Early Head Start and Head Start welcome children of all abilities. The program makes an extra effort to make sure that children with special needs get the support they need and feel like they are part of the classroom.

To learn more about how Head Start supports children with special needs click the link below.

See the DHS Special Needs Brochure.

 

What if my child has an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) from Early On? What if my child already has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP)?

Please let your Early Head Start or Head Start provider know at any point if:

  • You or your doctor have any concerns about your child’s communication, adaptive, cognitive, physical and/or social-emotional development
  • Your child has an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) from Early On
  • Your child has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) from your local school district

Sharing valuable information about your child’s needs begins during the enrollment process. The sooner the provider has this information, the more quickly they can work with you to address your child’s needs and ensure services are delivered following the plan.

 

What is an IFSP? What is an IEP?

The basic differences between an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) and an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) are the age of the child receiving services, the location of services and the delivery of service.

An IFSP provides early intervention services to children and their families from birth to age 3 with special needs. Services are provided in the home and/or school setting, and the child’s parent or caregiver is typically actively involved in the learning and care of the child.

An IEP provides services and/or programs for individuals with learning differences from the ages of 3 to 26. Services and/or programs are housed in the school setting, and parents or caregivers do not directly participate during service or program delivery. This handout from the Office of Head Start provides more detail.

 

What can I do as a parent to help my child’s special needs?

As your child’s first and best teacher, your knowledge about your child’s behavior and development at school and at home help providers understand how to support their best learning and development. Additionally, a parent or caregiver’s permission is required to evaluate your child’s needs and to provide services and support. It is very important that a parent or caregiver is involved at every step.

Early Head Start and Head Start providers along with the local school district are required to share their concerns and recommendations to support your child’s best development. The parent or caregiver must agree to the final plan for programming and/or services.

 

How does Early Head Start and Head Start help children with special needs?

Parents or caregivers and staff work together to better understand the concerns about a child’s communication, adaptive, cognitive, physical and/or social-emotional development. This team will determine if there are any changes to your child’s learning plan that might be helpful, or if your child can receive special needs programming and/or services based on the Michigan Administrative Rules for Special Education (MARSE) and a federal law called the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Early Head Start and Head Start providers partner with representatives from the local school district’s special education team in most cases to evaluate and support children’s special needs. Through the partnership, Head Start providers support a variety of needs and differences, including, but not limited to:

  • Speech and Language Challenges
  • Developmental Delay
  • Hearing/Visual Loss
  • Autism Spectrum
  • Disorder
  • Other Health Conditions

 

My child is so young. Could he/she just grow out of it? Why is early intervention important?

Early intervention is always best. Every child is different in their skills, knowledge, backgrounds and abilities. The more support we can provide a child during this critical time of development, the better the long-term outcomes for school and life.

An August 2016 study by Michigan State University found that “young children with multiple disabilities who are enrolled in Head Start have better literacy, reading and math scores” than children who aren’t in the program.

 

How does Head Start protect my child’s privacy regarding special needs?

Every child’s needs are different, from in-class support to one-on-one services. Early Head Start and Head Start providers work to include children with special needs in all regular classroom activities, right next to their peers. If children leave the classroom for necessary therapeutic services, this is done in the least disruptive way to their scheduled day. The federal Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) law protects the privacy of student education records and sharing of student information.

Great Start Readiness Program Overview

The Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) is Michigan’s state-funded preschool program for 4-year-old children. Research on preschool programs and specific research on GSRP indicates that children provided with a high-quality preschool experience show significant positive developmental differences when compared to children from the same backgrounds who did not attend a high-quality preschool program. The program is administered by the Michigan Department of Education, Office of Great Start.

Wayne RESA manages GSRP throughout Wayne County. Search for GSRP locations near you using the Connect4Care Kids Locations map.

Program Information

How much does GSRP cost?

GSRP is available at no cost to most families who qualify based on income (above 100 percent, but below 250 percent of the federal poverty line) or other factors. GSRP legislation requires specific collaboration when a child is eligible for Head Start. An eligible child must be referred to Head Start. The referral process within the protocol must identify which program is responsible for contacting the families to inform them of the eligibility for Head Start. Once parents are aware of the eligibility, Head Start should contact the family to describe the services available. Families should be guided to make the program choice best suited to their needs.

Families at or below 100 percent of the federal poverty line must be referred to/apply with Head Start first. If a Head Start spot is not available, then the child can apply for GSRP.

If Wayne RESA determines that all eligible children are being served and that there are no children on the waiting list who live with families at or below 250 percent of the federal poverty line, then up to 10 percent of children who live with families with a household income about 250 percent of the federal poverty line who meet other eligibility criteria may be enrolled. These families will be charged a reduced tuition based on a sliding fee scale, which in Wayne County is $10 per month for a full day spot.

 

How old are children in GSRP?

Children should be 4-years-old by September 1 of the school year. Children with birthdays September 2 through December 1 of the school year may be enrolled after September 1 once the governor has signed the state aid bill that authorized the GSRP grant. The program gives access to preschool children who do not qualify for Head Start or those who qualify for Head Start but cannot secure an available spot.

 

What services are offered through GSRP?

  • Research-based curriculum
  • Individual Development Plans are created with the family for each child
  • Healthy snacks and meals
  • Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ) developmental screenings
  • Transportation available at select sites
  • Highly qualified certified teachers
  • Opportunities for hands-on learning
  • Parent engagement through advisory committees, to assist in evaluation and make recommendations about the program

 

How does GSRP engage with parents?

Parent involvement in the learning process strengthens learning at home and is directly linked back to positive child outcomes at school. GSRP values parent engagement in a variety of ways. They partner with parents to establish each child’s Individual Development Plan and they share stories of children’s learning.

Providers encourage frequent and informal communication, e.g., conversations during drop-off and pick-up times, notes, telephone conversations, and email. GSRP supports parents and caregivers as active decision makers to participate at many levels—from an advisory committee to the regional Great Start Collaborative Parent Coalition.

 

What will my child learn in GSRP?

Preschoolers in GSRP have direct hands-on experiences with language, communication, math, creative arts, science, technology, and social studies. Teachers help children explore many different types of play and learning inside a safe and clean classroom.

The curriculum promotes active, participatory learning through all portions of the daily routine. GSRP offers learning experiences personalized for the strengths, interests, and needs of each child, in consideration of their family, community, and culture.

 

Can GSRP help if my child has special needs?

Local districts may determine through the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) team that GSRP is the least restrictive environment for children who qualify for special education services. A child may be placed in a GSRP classroom in two ways:

  • By qualifying for GSRP and receiving additional early childhood special education services (ECSE) services, or
  • Through the blending of programs and braiding of GSRP and early childhood special education services (ECSE) funding.
Eligibility and Enrollment Information

How do families qualify?

Families qualify for GSRP based on income and other eligibility factors. The program gives access to 4-year-old preschoolers who do not qualify for Head Start or those who qualify for Head Start but cannot secure an available spot.

 

Providers will require documentation to complete your child’s enrollment. Documentation will include:

  • Age of child (birth certificate, birth verification, baptismal certificate, passport, etc.)
  • Driver’s license or state identification
  • Proof of income (1040 tax document, W2, paycheck stub, SSI documentation, etc.)
  • Potential program eligibility factors placing the child at risk of educational failure (see below)
  • Health appraisal and proof of immunizations

 

You may also qualify if any of the following questions apply to you or your family:

Are you currently:

  • Caring for a child with a diagnosed disability?
  • Caring for a child with severe or challenging behavior?
  • Experiencing homelessness?

Are you a parent who has not graduated from high school?
Were you younger than the age of 20 when your first child was born?
Do you speak English as your second language?
Have you or your child experienced domestic abuse?

Has your child:

  • Experienced the loss of a parent due to death or absence?
  • Experienced separation from a parent due to divorce, incarceration, chronic illness or military service?
  • Been exposed to toxic substances, before or after they were born, that are known to cause developmental delays
  • Experienced abuse or neglect?
  • Experienced Issues related to a sibling (like, chronic illness, behavior issues, disability, or death)?
  • Been expelled from preschool or a child care center?

Does your child speak English as a second language?

Check your eligibility and start the application process.

 

How do families apply?

Parents and caregivers can check their eligibility and/or start the application process with GSRP through Connect4Care Kids. Families can enroll at any time during the year. It is best to begin the application process well before the start of the new school year to make sure your paperwork is accurate and complete. This helps prioritize selection based upon families with greatest need.

Check your eligibility and start the application process.

Your application will immediately be shared with GSRP providers near you. Providers with openings will follow up with you directly using the contact information that you provide. Be prepared to share the necessary information with providers to complete your child’s enrollment. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Age of child (birth certificate, birth verification, baptismal certificate, passport, etc.)
  • Driver’s license or state identification
  • Proof of income (1040 tax document, W2, paycheck stub, SSI documentation, etc.)
  • Potential program eligibility factors placing the child at risk of educational failure (see below)
  • Health appraisal and proof of immunizations

Services for Children with Special Needs

Can GSRP help if my child has special needs?

Local districts may determine through the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) team that GSRP is the least restrictive environment for children who qualify for special education services. A child may be placed in a GSRP classroom in two ways:

  • By qualifying for GSRP and receiving additional early childhood special education (ECSE) services, or
  • Through the blending of programs and braiding of GSRP and early childhood special education (ECSE) services funding.

In any case, the IEP team should have representation of parents and the GSRP teacher as it considers the following questions:

  • Does everyone feel that the IEP fully meets the child’s needs?
  • Does the IEP declare the GSRP as the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)?
  • Was the GSRP teacher a part of the IEP team?
  • Are consultation meetings between special education staff and the GSRP teaching team written into the IEP?
  • Can the child’s needs for special services be met through GSRP?
  • What additional support or accommodations will be necessary so the child can participate fully in the activities and environment of GSRP
  • What percent of children in the classroom have IEPs? Individual classroom needs and resources are taken into consideration, such as the variety and degree of disability as well as adult/child ratio in a classroom. Best practice for inclusive classrooms limits the percentage of children with IEPs to no more than 25 percent.

 

What can I do as a parent to help my child’s special needs?

As your child’s first and best teacher, your knowledge about your child’s behavior and development at school and at home are vital to determining how to support their best learning and development. Additionally, a parent or caregiver’s permission is required to evaluate your child’s needs and to provide services and support. It is very important that a parent or caregiver is involved at every step.

GSRP providers and representatives from the local school district’s special education team are required to share their concerns and recommendations to support your child’s best development. The parent or caregiver must agree to the final plan for programming and/or services.

 

How does GSRP help children with special needs?

Parents or caregivers and staff work together to better understand the concerns about a child’s communication, adaptive, cognitive, physical and/or social-emotional development. This team will determine if there are adjustments to your child’s learning plan that might be helpful, or if your child is eligible for special needs programming and/or services based on the Michigan Administrative Rules for Special Education (MARSE) and a federal law called the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

GSRP providers and representatives from the local school district’s special education team in most cases agree to evaluate and support children’s special needs. Through the partnership, GSRP providers support a variety of needs and differences, including, but not limited to:

  • Speech and Language Challenges
  • Developmental Delay
  • Hearing/Visual Loss
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Other Health Conditions

 

My child is so young. Could he/she just grow out of it? Why is early intervention important?

Early intervention is always best. Every child is different in their skills, knowledge, backgrounds and abilities. The more support we can provide a child during this critical time of development, the better the long-term outcomes for school and life.

 

How does GSRP protect my child’s privacy regarding special needs?

Every child’s needs are different, from in-class supports to one-on-one services. GSRP providers strive to include children with special needs in all regular classroom activities, right next to their peers. If children leave the classroom for necessary therapeutic services, this is done in the least disruptive way to their scheduled day. The federal Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) law protects the privacy of student education records and sharing of student information.

MDHHS Subsidy (Child Development and Care Program) Overview

The MDHHS subsidy program, also known as the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Child Development and Care program (CDC), provides financial assistance to Michigan families for child care costs. It is a program of the Michigan Department of Education. The subsidy helps low-income parents to work, go to school, participate in a job training program and/or attend counseling or a treatment program by reducing or covering child care costs. Family size, income level and other eligibility factors affect whether there is a Family Contribution and the amount of the Family Contribution, if any.

The State of Michigan Child Development and Care Handbook provides details for parents and, primarily, providers.

There are two parts to securing and using the MDHHS subsidy:

  • Being enrolled with a qualifying provider
  • Applying for the MDHHS subsidy through MiBridges

Your child does not need to be enrolled with a child care provider before you apply for the subsidy. However, if you’re approved for a subsidy, you will need to complete a CDC Provider Verification [DHS-4025] form to have the state send payment directly to your provider. You will be responsible for any remaining costs owed to the provider.

MDHHS Subsidy Program Information

What does it cost?

Family size, income level and other eligibility factors affect whether there is a Family Contribution (a cost to families) and the amount of the Family Contribution, if any.

For families who receive FIP/TANF or SSI, children in foster care, homeless or migrant children or children with open Child Protective Services (CPS) cases are eligible. Their income is not considered for eligibility and the child will have no Family Contribution.

For families who do not meet any of these criteria, please refer to the CDC Income Eligibility Scale and Family Contribution chart. Children attending a Great Start to Quality 3- to 5-Star rated program will not have to pay a Family Contribution.

Family Contribution amounts are per child, per every two-week pay period. The family is responsible for paying the Family Contribution directly to the provider. The Family Contribution is subtracted from the provider payment issued by the Department.

 

Can I use the MDHHS subsidy if my child attends Early Head Start, Head Start, or GRSP?

Families can not use the MDHHS subsidy at Early Head Start, Head Start or GRSP, which are already offered at no cost to qualifying families. Families might qualify to use the MDHHS subsidy for wrap-around hours (before and after school hours) if your child is enrolled in Early Head Start at a Child Care Partnership center or if your preschool attends GSRP at a community-based center with extended hours, and if these centers accept the MDHHS subsidy.

 

How do I find a qualifying provider?

To find licensed child care providers in your area, visit the Connect4Care Kids location map.

Great Start to Quality has local resource centers throughout Michigan where staff can help you find child care that fits your budget and schedule. Please call 877-614-7328 for more information.

If you plan to use a license exempt (formerly known as unlicensed) child care provider who is not currently enrolled by the Department of Education, you will also need to have your provider complete the Child Development and Care License Exempt Provider Application. Make sure that your provider reads and meets the requirements to be a Michigan Department of Education enrolled license-exempt child care provider. Have your provider submit the completed form, along with the required verifications, to MDHHS as soon as possible.

 

What is the difference between a licensed provider and licensed exempt provider?

MDHHS categories providers in three ways: licensed provider, license exempt-related and license exempt-unrelated. Documentation and payment processes vary by category. Details are in the State of Michigan Child Development and Care Handbook (pages 7 – 12). Not all child care providers will agree to accept the MDHHS subsidy. Please check with your provider or search providers on our locations map.

Licensed Providers
  • Child Care Center – A facility, other than a private home, licensed to care for one or more children.
  • Group Child Care Home – A private home licensed to care for up to 12 children at a time.
  • Family Child Care Home – A private home licensed to care for up to six children at a time.

Providers wishing to be licensed as a child care center, group child care home, or family child care home, should call the Bureau of Community and Health Systems (BCHS) toll free at 866- 685-0006 or visit www.michigan.gov/michild care. Licensed providers must comply with all Licensing and Regulatory Affairs requirements, including background checks, initial and ongoing health and safety training, and annual monitoring visits in order to be eligible for child care subsidy reimbursement.

License Exempt-Related

A license exempt-related provider must be all of the following:

  • An adult who is 18 years or older.
  • Provides care for no more than six children at one time.
  • Provides care in the provider’s home or where the child(ren) lives.
  • Related to the child(ren) by blood, marriage or adoption as one of the following:
  • (Great) Grandparent
  • (Great) Aunt or Uncle.
  • Sibling (allowable only if the provider lives at a different residence).

Note: A divorce ends a relationship gained through marriage.

License Exempt-Unrelated

A license exempt-unrelated provider must be all of the following:

  • An adult who is 18 years or older.
  • Provides care for no more than six children at one time.
  • Provides care where the child(ren) lives.

A health and safety coaching visit is required each year at the location of care (child(ren)’s home). The visit may be announced (scheduled) or unannounced. Providers must respond to communication related to the visit. If the annual visit is not completed, the provider will no longer be eligible to care for the child(ren) and be paid for providing child care.

For detailed information regarding requirements by provider type for background checks, training, and health and safety visits, please see the Health and Safety Requirements by Provider Type, which can be found at www.michigan.gov/childcare in the Providers section.

 

How are payments made?

MDHHS subsidy payments will be paid after the provider’s billing information has been submitted and processed.

Payments for care provided by a child care center, group home or family home are issued directly to the provider in the provider’s name.

Payments for care provided by a license exempt-related or license exempt-unrelated provider are issued directly to the parent in the parent’s name. The parent is responsible for paying this type of provider. Parents, license exempt-related providers and license exempt-unrelated providers will be mailed a check as they are not eligible for Direct Deposit/Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT).

Details are in the State of Michigan Child Development and Care Handbook (page 13).

MDHHS Subsidy Eligibility and Enrollment Information

How do families qualify?

Families may qualify for the MDHHS subsidy based on income and if they are looking for child care while they are engaged in:

  • Employment
    • Employment or self-employment
  • An approved activity
    • College or university undergraduate education, such as associate or bachelor degree, including online programs (Does not include graduate, medical, or law school)
    • Employment preparation or training, such as a trade certificate or training program
  • High school completion
    • General educational development (GED)
    • Adult basic education (ABE)
    • English as a second language (ESL)
  • Family preservation
    • Participating in an approved counseling or treatment program for a physical, emotional, or mental condition
    • If the child is in Children’s Protective Services, and child care is required by an active Protective Services Case plan
    • If the child is in foster care, and child care is required by an active Protective Services Case plan
    • If the family is experiencing homelessness
    • If the family includes a migrant farmworker

For a complete list of approved need reasons, please review the Bridges Eligibility Manual (BEM 703) policy. To find out if you could qualify for assistance, review the Income Eligibility Scale. For most families, the department pays less than the full cost of child care. Families are expected to pay the difference between the subsidy payment and the provider’s actual charge.

Check your eligibility and start the application process.

Find a provider.

 

What is the application process for the MDHHS subsidy program?

Details are found here.

Step 1: Apply online at MiBridges
After, a caseworker will contact you by mail or phone to review your application. The interview may be completed by phone or in person.

Be prepared to share the necessary documents. This could include documents to:

  • Verify your identity (driver’s license, government or military id, passport, etc.)
  • Verify your address/residence (driver’s license, mortgage or rent receipt, utility bill, etc.)
  • Verify your qualifying need for assistance (copy of school, work, or training program schedule, etc.)

Step 2: Find a Provider
Begin your search for a quality child care provider. Use the Connect4Care Kids location map to find a center near you that works with the MDHHS subsidy. Contact them about openings.

Your child does not need to be enrolled with a child care provider before you apply for the MDHHS subsidy.

MDHHS categories providers in three ways: licensed provider, license exempt-related and license exempt-unrelated. Documentation and payment processes vary by category. Details are in the State of Michigan Child Development and Care Handbook (pages 7 – 12). Not all child care providers will agree to accept the MDHHS subsidy. Please check with your provider or search providers on our locations map.

Details about the types of providers that can participate in the MDHHS child care subsidy is included on this page under Program Information.

Step 3: Finish Documents
If you are approved for the MDHHS subsidy, you will need to work with MDHHS and your child care provider to complete additional documents and figure out payment details.

The State of Michigan Child Development and Care Handbook provides details as well.

 

What information do I have to provide?

Once you submit an application for the CDC subsidy through MiBridges, a MDHHS caseworker will follow up with you directly using the contact information that you provide. Be prepared to share the necessary information to get your subsidy application approved. Documentation requirements and options are detailed on the Verification Checklist [DHS-3503]. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Verifying your identity, e.g., driver’s license, government or military id, passport, etc.
  • Verifying your address/residence, e.g., driver’s license, mortgage or rent receipt, utility bill, etc.
  • Verifying your qualifying need for assistance, e.g. copy of class schedule for attending school, copy of work schedule for employment, schedule for training program, etc.

 

Can I apply the MDHHS subsidy to a program my child is already enrolled in?

If you are already paying for the program without any subsidies, ask the location your child is already enrolled in whether they accept subsidies or scholarships. If the location accepts scholarships or subsidies, then you can apply for the MDHHS subsidy through MiBridges.

Great Start to Quality Overview

Great Start to Quality is Michigan’s quality rating and improvement system that evaluates the quality of licensed programs, for children 0-12. As a Michigan family, you can use Great Start to Quality as a tool to help you look up and compare early childhood programs to find the best child care. On a scale of one- to five-stars, Michigan child care, preschool, and afterschool programs are scored in different areas, and those scores are combined to give them their Star Rating. Great Start to Quality allows you to search all licensed providers in Michigan.

Program Information

What are star ratings, and what do they mean?

Child care, preschool and school age only programs and providers are scored on the following areas: Staff Qualifications, Family and Community Partnerships, Administration, Environment, and Curriculum, Screening and Assessment. The scores in each area are combined to give them a Star Rating.

Based on a program’s Self-Assessment Survey, Validation and possible on-site assessment, each program is given a Great Start to Quality Star Rating. These ratings range from an Empty Star (not participating) to 5 stars (highest quality). The standards they aim to meet are high, and reaching each level can take some time. All participating programs are committed to quality and making improvements to help prepare children for kindergarten and beyond. Great Start to Quality wants you to know that ratings are just one of several factors to think about when you are finding the right program for your family’s needs.

 

How do programs and providers rated by Great Start to Quality improve child outcomes?

Programs and providers with a Star Rating have demonstrated quality through their practices, interactions and staff qualifications. Many highly rated programs and providers implement the use of an approved screening, assessment and curriculum, have lower adult to child ratios and partnerships within the community. High-quality child care helps children be more successful in school, and has been shown to improve health and income over children’s lifetimes.

 

How can I receive more information?

There are ten Great Start to Quality Resource Centers across 11 regions throughout Michigan. Each resource center is available to help programs, providers and families obtain resources, additional information and navigate Great Start to Quality. You can contact your local Great Start to Quality Resource Center by calling 1-877-614-7328.

What if I have another question?