Think Babies Michigan

Start Small, Think Big

A lifetime of success begins during infancy. The first three years of a child’s life are critical — but our work is about so much more than those three years. It’s about shaping a child’s future. Supporting their families. Improving the health and prosperity of our state as a whole.

Across Michigan, tens of thousands of families with infants and toddlers are not able to access the high-quality programs, services and opportunities they need to raise healthy and thriving children.

That’s why we’re working to ensure that race, income or zip code do not determine a child’s destiny.

Think Babies Michigan is a collaborative of more than 2,400 members — leaders, experts, families, organizations and providers — working together to improve the lives of babies prenatal to three years old and, therefore, the well-being of our state as a whole. Together, this collaborative combines resources to help support these growing minds and their families.

Michigan is among 20 states to receive this multi-year grant made possible by the Pritzker Children’s Initiative, an initiative of the J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation. ECIC is honored to serve as the project lead for this collaborative, statewide initiative. Read the full initiative.

What’s New

Michigan’s Early Childhood True Cost Report: Fully funding child care, early intervention, and home visiting services. 

Learn more about the parents advocating for change with Think Babies Michigan.


Learn about our specific policy recommendations to support
Michigan’s early childhood workforce.


Get Involved

Want to play a part in improving the lives of children and families across Michigan?


Child and father play on the floor of living room.

Our Policy Agenda

    • Increase the number of families with children prenatal-to-three who are utilizing essential health, developmental and social-emotional support services. We want to ensure resources such as Early On and Home Visits go directly to those who need them and can benefit from them long-term.
    • Increase the number of infants and toddlers who have access and are enrolled in high quality child care, setting these children up for success throughout their lives.



Policy Priorities 2020-2025

1. Ensure that race, income or zip code does not determine a child’s destiny in Michigan.
2. Develop a statewide, cross-sector infant-toddler workforce strategy.
3. Expand enrollment in and access to high quality child care, early intervention, home visiting and preventative care services.
4. Strengthen how families learn about and access programs and services.
5. Actively support efforts led by partners and allies that positively impact infants and toddlers and their families.

More than 950 Michigan families, advocates, researchers, government officials, service providers and parents convened to create the Think Babies Michigan 2020-2025 Policy Agenda. Michigan is the only state in this national movement to intentionally prioritize having parents co-lead and co-design our policy agenda-setting process.

Adult holding baby and laughing

Think Babies Michigan Leadership

Steering Committee 

The Think Babies Michigan Collaborative is led by a Steering Committee of over 30 groups and numerous parents, who provide guidance and support to achieve policy change for Michigan’s infants and toddlers and their families.

  • C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital – University of Michigan Medicine
  • Detroit Parent Network
  • Early Childhood Investment Corporation
  • Early On Michigan Foundation
  • First Steps Kent
  • Great Start Collaboratives
  • Great Start to Quality Resource Centers
  • Hope Starts Here – Detroit’s Early Childhood Partnership
  • Intermediate School Districts
  • Inter-tribal Council
  • Kresge Foundation
  • Michigan Association of United Ways
  • Michigan’s Children
  • Michigan Council for Maternal and Child Health
  • Michigan Department of Education – Office of Great Start
  • Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
  • Michigan Family Voices
  • Michigan Head Start Association
  • Michigan League for Public Policy
  • Michigan State University School of Social Work
  • Mothering Justice
  • Office of the Governor
  • Voces Battle Creek
  • Numerous parent leaders from communities statewide

Governance Board 

  • Danielle Atkinson, National Executive Director & Founder, Mothering Justice
  • Celina Byrd, Principal, Marygrove Early Education Center; and Director of Strategy & Innovation, Starfish Family Services
  • Matt Gillard, President & CEO, Michigan’s Children
  • Malak Kabalan, Public Health Coordinator, Arab Community Center for Economic & Social Services (ACCESS)
  • Christian Ko, Parent Leader, Oakland County
  • Emily Laidlaw, Child Care Licensing Director of the Office of Early Childhood Education, Michigan Department of Lifelong Education, Advancement & Potential (MiLEAP)
  • Rachelle McKissick-Harris, Parent Leader, Kent County
  • Alejandra Meza, Director of Program Services, Hispanic Center of Western Michigan
  • Catrina Rule, Doula & Executive Chair, How YOU Birth
  • Monique Stanton, President & CEO, Michigan League for Public Policy (MLPP)
  • Cara Sutliffe, Parent Leader, Kent County
  • Carrie Tarry, Director of Division of Child & Adolescent Health, Michigan Department of Health & Human Services (MDHHS)
  • Chrissy Vines, Parent Leader, Muskegon County
  • Darika Williams, Parent Leader, Calhoun County
  • Heather Wood-Paquet, Health Promotions Coordinator, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) Health System
  • Amy Zaagman, Executive Director, Michigan Council for Maternal & Child Health (MCMCH)

Think Babies is staffed by the Early Childhood Investment Corporation.

Contact Us

Sacha Klein, Senior Director, Policy and Advocacy: