Child Care Innovation Fund Priorities

 What is the Child Care Innovation Fund?

The Early Childhood Investment Corporation created the Child Care Innovation Fund with a seed investment of $3 million from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation The Innovation Fund will support regional and community projects to pilot common sense solutions that benefit working families, child care business owners and early educators. At the end of the initial two years of the initiative, Michigan will have a roadmap of proven “shovel ready” ideas, ready to be taken to scale.


Why does Michigan need a Child Care Innovation Fund?

The child care sector – essential to Michigan’s economic recovery – is in trouble.

Graphic of Statistics in Michigan outlining the need for the Innovation Fund

Child care businesses that are open are struggling to recruit, hire and retain well-qualified teachers and staff. Early educators and child care workers are severely underpaid. High quality child care still costs too much for families. Many low- and moderate-income families are heavily burdened by the costs of child care, and often have difficulties finding care. When costs become too high parents drop out of or reduce their participation in paid labor markets to provide care on their own.

What are the Innovation Fund’s Priorities? 

The Child Care Innovation Fund will invest in innovative regional and community pilot projects which target one or more of the following Priorities:

  • Advance child care as essential community infrastructure for economic growth and development, business productivity, and school readiness
  • Improve the wages, benefits, on-the-job supports, and professional learning early educators need to help children learn
  • Accelerate the start-up and expansion of licensed child care businesses in areas with more than three children under age five for every licensed child care slot
  • Collaborate on child care solutions with employers to improve the productivity, recruitment, and retention of their working families
  • Increase the economic viability and sustainability of child care businesses

Applications for the first round of funding opportunities closed in July 2021. Read more about the first communities to receive Child Care Innovation Fund Awards here. Applications for a second round of funding opportunities through the Child Care Innovation Fund are expected to open in March 2022.


News and Updates

As the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) lead agency for Michigan, the Michigan Department of Education is examining the current structure for child care subsidy payments. Fall 2021, child care providers and stakeholders shared their feedback on current child care subsidy practices, as well as the challenges and barriers child care providers face on a daily-basis.

Watch the discussion and view the summary below.


Promising Ideas Incubator

ECIC’s Child Care Innovation Fund is pleased to announce its very first group of Promising Ideas Incubator participants!  Each Incubator is engaging a wide variety of partners and providers to design innovative solutions for quality child care.
Special thanks to the W.K. Kellogg Foundation for helping us fund this experience for prospective child care innovators!