Our Top Stories

LANSING – From the gateway to northern Michigan in Clare to the state’s politically charged capital in Lansing, the Great Start Regional Child Care Resource Center of Central Michigan spans a patchwork of 10 contiguous but incredibly diverse counties.

Whole Family Connection is an on-line information and referral system that will connect families and services in Ottawa County. The project, established and in place in Florida, is a web-based tool that provides a virtual one-stop shop for resources while also providing critical data about children and services.

Since launching the program in 1997, the Women’s Caring Program, based in Milford, has raised more than $2 million to help families afford child care. Last year, nearly 90 families were helped.The program pays up to a maximum of $2,604 per family per year.

TRAVERSE CITY – Last year, a study by economists at Minnesota’s Wilder Research found that past investments by Michigan in preschool save the state a whopping $1.15 billion per year by lowering special education, welfare and prison system costs. The results were so impressive that the Traverse Bay/Manistee Great Start Collaborative decided to do a similar local impact study, which was released this month.

"The Time Is Now" - the video shot by Detroit Public Television for ECIC and shown at the Nov. 30 Great Start Business Summit - was a huge hit with audience members. Now you can see the new and improved version of the video, in which Michigan business leaders discuss the importance of early childhood investment.

EAST LANSING - More than 235 business leaders and early childhood advocates from across the state convened November 30th at the Kellogg Center on the campus of Michigan State University for the first-ever Great Start Business Summit.

EAST LANSING – Consumers Energy has been named the recipient of the Early Childhood Investment Corporation’s (ECIC) first-ever Fierce Heart Business Champion Award.The award – recognizing outstanding leadership and investment in the state’s school readiness movement – was awarded to Consumers at ECIC’s Great Start Business Summit November 30th inside Michigan State University’s Kellogg Center.

EAST LANSING – Michigan’s lingering economic insecurity is having its biggest impact on the state’s littlest citizens, according to a top child research expert.

At the Nov. 30 , Jane Zehnder-Merrell, project director for Kids Count in Michigan, said conditions for children in Michigan are worsening as evidenced by the rise in the child poverty rate rising to 27 percent.

LANSING – The Early Childhood Investment Corporation today announced that it will award $3 million in grants to Great Start Collaboratives across Michigan to establish local matching funds.

We have so much. Many children have so little. So won’t you please join the ECIC staff’s “Fill a Bag, Fill a Tummy” food drive to help hungry children this holiday season?

LANSING – Thanks to a unique, year-long training program, more than 30,000 additional children across Michigan are now in the care of an adult educated in basic health and safety techniques, according to the Early Childhood Investment Corporation (ECIC).

PORTAGE – On the road between Kalamazoo and Battle Creek, child care specialist Richadonna Frede is heading to her next appointment, discussing by cell phone how the magic happens.

LANSING – The Early Childhood Investment Corp. (ECIC) has awarded $928,233 in ReImagine Early Years grants to 11 school districts across the state to foster innovative P-8 (prenatal through age 8) educational reform.

ERIE – Members of the Monroe County Great Start Parent Coalition (GSPC) like to say the group has a great, big ARMM, as in “Advocacy, Recruiting, Mentor and Media.” “We like to say that the Parent Coalition is the arm of the Great Start Collaborative,” said Amy Zarend, liaison for the coalition. “We even adopted the acronym ARMM.”

ANN ARBOR – Nine years ago Christine Harmon’s husband came home and said he didn’t want be married anymore. The next day he was gone. As a stay-at-home mom with two toddlers, she hadn’t worked outside the home in years. Harmon knew her life had just gone into crisis mode.

ST. JOHNS – In the spirit of collaboration, finding partners to help stage a candidate forum was a priority for the members of the Clinton County Great Start Collaborative (GSC) and Great Start Parent Coalition (GSPC).

LANSING - Robert H. Dugger, one of the nation's leading business voices for early childhood, will be the keynote speaker at the Great Start Business Summit scheduled for Nov. 30 at East Lansing's Kellogg Center.

Dugger is an investment fund leader and the chairman of the advisory board for the Partnership for America’s Economic Success, Pew Charitable Trust's initiative to engage business leaders as allies for smart investments in early childhood.

To view the agenda, click here.

Gogebic and Ontonagon counties are at the western-most point of the Upper Peninsula. More than 500 miles from Lansing, the counties are sparsely populated, economically depressed and geographically closer to the capitals of three other states. None of that, however, stops the Gogebic-Ontonagon Great Start Collaborative from working to improve coordination, delivery and access to early childhood services for families in the region.

TRAVERSE CITY – Pam Ward and her staff at the Great Start Regional Child Care Resource Center for Northwest Michigan go above and beyond to help improve the quality of child care in the region, and thus the future of young children.

ALPENA –Kim Stahl, 34, has cared for several autistic children while operating her licensed family child care home in Indian River in the past 10 years. Yet the small town mom freely admits she wouldn’t have been able to take on such challenges without the resources and expert advice offered by the Great Start Regional Child Care Center for Northeast Michigan and the Eastern Upper Peninsula.