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Pediatric and family health are the focus of the new edition of "Great Starts Here," a quarterly e-magazine produced by the Early Childhood Investment Corporation. To view a copy, click here. To subscribe and have it e-mailed to you, see the button on the front left of this page.

DETROIT - In a commentary published today, John Austin, president of the Michigan State Board of Education, and Dan Varner, a member of the State Board of Education and director of Excellent Schools Detroit, urged lawmakers to "direct greater support for early childhood learning into the reformed and streamlined Office of Great Start."

LANSING – The Early Childhood Investment Corp. (ECIC) today announced that 29 Great Start Collaboratives across the state have raised more than $3 million in private and public donations to help more than 800 low-income families afford quality child care and preschool for their 3-year-old sons and daughters.

DETROIT - In an editoria today, The Detroit Free Press called on state lawmakers to fully fund the Great Start Readiness Program, which provides preschool for 47,000 at-risk 4-year-olds statewide.

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Michigan's Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program has been awarded both a competitive grant ($5,392,005) and a 2011 formula grant ($3,013,395) from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“The idea of building a continuum of whole child development beginning at birth and going all the way to third grade success is an idea whose time has come,” Sterling K. Speirn, CEO and president of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation said during a live web chat this week on WashingtonPost.com.

ANN ARBOR - Parents, the University of Michigan wants to know about your children's teeth. As part of a six-month oral health study, researchers with UM's Child Health and Evaluation Research Unit are surveying parents to find out how they help care for their children's teeth.

GRAND RAPIDS - There was plenty impacting children and early childhood in Gov. Rick Snyder's Special Message to the Legislature on Health and Wellness delivered during a visit to the Heart of the City Health Center in Grand Rapids. The governor discussed measures that will impact infant mortality, teen pregnancy, obesity, oral health, behavioral health, autism and more.

Three newspapers across the state published recent commentaries about the success of the CHAP medical home concept that is flowering in Kent County. For links and excerpts, see below.

LANSING – Around since at least the 1960s, medical homes for children certainly aren’t a new concept, Dr. Lawrence Reynolds told a group of lawmakers at an informational breakfast here Thursday.

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Pew Center on the States last week released new survey results about state home visiting programs. To find out what it said about Michigan, read on.

When the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission enacted new crib standards last month, licensed early learning and care providers across Michigan worried about how they were going to afford the change. So when the Early Childhood Investment Corporation (ECIC) announced a statewide crib exchange with providers, they breathed a sigh of relief. (Click photo capture for YouTube clip.)

The Early Childhood Investment Corporation's statewide crib exchange Saturday, Aug. 27 - held in conjunction with the Great Start Regional Child Care Resource Centers, Great Start Collaboratives, Great Start Parent Coalitions and dozens of wonderful volunteers - was a widely covered media event.Read on to see some of the coverage.

UPPER PENINSULA - Cribs were on the move across the Upper Peninsula this week. Deb Dupras, program director of the Great Start Regional Child Care Resource Center, spent several days with volunteers driving a U-Haul across the vast expanses of the U.P. to deliver free, safer cribs to licensed early learning care providers who needed them. In total, the group traveled 450 miles - often in 20-30 mph winds - to deliver 59 cribs.

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Obama administration this week released the final application and selection criteria for the Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge grant competition. The grants will provide up to $500 million ($50-$100 million per awarded state) to help states improve their early learning systems.

Michigan’s youngest may not know it, but their small worlds just got safer. As of late last month, cribs sold in the United States are required to meet stricter federal safety standards, and cribs used by child care providers must have the new cribs in place by December 2012. But why wait?

In Sunday's edition of The Flint Journal, Dr. Thomas Teal, vice president for medical affairs for Memorial Healthcare in Owosso, authored the following commentary: "Most adults see the wisdom in Ben Franklin’s famous maxim, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” and they practice what it preaches in their daily lives.Now there’s a new “ounce of prevention” for children who receive Medicaid that is proving its worth in Kent County, so much so that other cities and counties across Michigan may well want to adopt it."

LANSING – The Early Childhood Investment Corp. (ECIC) today announced that it will give away 2,000 cribs that meet new federal safety guidelines in a crib exchange with licensed early learning and care providers across Michigan.

High unemployment is shattering the economic security of children in Michigan with one in every eight children living in a household struggling with job loss and one in every 20 kids affected by foreclosure, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s annual KIDS COUNT Data Book released today.