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The Alliance’s lead ally in Michigan is the Michigan Council for Maternal and Child Health (MCMCH). Established in 1983, MCMCH has a diverse membership comprised of large hospital systems, statewide organizations, local public health advocates and individuals with an interest in the advancement of maternal and child health. MCMCH uses a collective voice to advocate for access to care, prevention programs and adequate funding/reimbursement for providers, and educates policymakers on ways to improve maternal and child health outcomes while addressing Michigan’s high rates of Black maternal and infant mortality.

2023 State Early Childhood Policy Environment and Progress

State early childhood policy progress is dependent both on the state’s policy environment and the numerous efforts — by those listed on this page and many others — who worked both independently and collaboratively to achieve wins for young children.

Early Childhood Landscape:

Research shows that family economic security is foundational to children’s overall wellbeing. Research also shows that widespread disparities in opportunity (especially by race) drive wide disparities in outcomes. States with policies that offer strong support to young children and their families are more likely to see 1) declining numbers of children in low-income households and 2) low racial disparity among those children. 

Young Children in Low-Income Households: Declining

Approximately 41% (407,000) of the state’s children 0-8 live in households below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (2021). This number represents a decrease from 46% (470,000) in 2016.1

Racial Disparity Among Young Children Living in Low-Income Households: High

Black, Hispanic/Latino, and/or Native children aged 0-8 are significantly more likely to be living in households below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level than are Asian and non-Hispanic White children.2

Advocacy Landscape:

State General Fund Appropriations: Declining 

On July 31, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed the state’s general omnibus budget after previously signing the education budget on July 20. Total appropriations (including both general fund and education spending) are projected to be $81.7 billion in fiscal 2024, 5.4 percent less than estimated fiscal 2023 spending.3

Largest Per Capita Revenue Sources (after federal transfers) (FY 2021):4

    • Charges: $1,874 per capita
    • Property Taxes: $1,662 per capita

Charges are public payments connected with a specific government service, such as tuition paid to a state university, payments to a public hospital, or highway tolls. 

Political Alignment: Aligned

During the 2023 session, the state’s Senate and House were both Democrat controlled. The state’s Governor was also a Democrat.5

Types of Common Ballot Measures Available:6  Six

    • Legislature-Initiated Constitutional Amendments – A constitutional amendment that appears on a state’s ballot as a ballot measure because the state legislature in that state voted to put it before the voters.
    • Voter-Initiated Constitutional Amendments – An amendment to a state’s constitution that comes about through the initiative process.
    • Legislature-Initiated State Statutes – Appears on a state’s ballot as a ballot measure because the state legislature in that state voted to put it before the voters.
    • Voter-Initiated State Statutes – Earns a spot on the ballot when sponsors collect signatures according to the laws governing the initiative process in Michigan.
    • Veto Referenda – When citizens of Michigan disagree with a statute or legislative bill enacted by the state legislature, they can collect signatures to force the issue to a vote. If enough signatures are collected, the bill is placed on the statewide ballot.
    • Automatic Ballot Referrals – In Michigan, there is one such question, by law, every sixteen years, starting in 1978, the question of whether to hold a constitutional convention.

Early Childhood Policy Advocacy Organizations Include:

Early Childhood Policy Advocacy Multi-State Initiatives Include:7

2023 Policy Progress:

Michigan’s state budget reflects the priorities of Governor Whitmer and the new Democrat majorities in the legislature with significant new investments in maternal and child health and early childhood programs and services, including $68 million in new funding focused on community-based and quality improvement approaches to improve birth equity; $100 million to combat lead exposure; and a $90 million increase in pre-k funding that will move Michigan towards universal pre-k by 2027.

Highlights from the state’s early childhood policy advocacy community include:8

Earned Income Tax Credit – Michigan has a state tax credit similar to the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (federal EITC). Public Act 4 of 2023 expanded the Michigan EITC from 6% of the federal EITC to 30%, and made the credit expansion retroactive to the 2022 tax year. Based on 2019 taxpayer data, more than 738,000 Michigan families would be eligible, and the average credit is $749.

Pre-K – Governor Whitmer set a goal for universal Pre-K for 4-year-olds by 2027. The FY ‘24 budget makes big increases in the state’s free Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP). Spending highlights: -$90.8 million to increase the per-pupil grant from $9,150 to $9,608 for full-day and $4,808 for part-day, and raise income eligibility from 250% to 300% FPL. -$35 million to start up new and expand classrooms. -$30 million to strengthen early childhood workforce. -$18 million for transportation. There is also $15.8 million in new state funds for piloting additional sites for GSRP for 3-year-olds. The Governor directed a Pre-K For All Action Team composed of state, regional and local early childhood leaders to develop an implementation plan. The group hosted 15 listening sessions with child care providers, parents and early childhood stakeholders to determine how to best serve children and the early childhood system as pre-K expands. Their report will be out soon.

New State Department – Through an executive order, Governor Whitmer directed the creation of a new state department called Michigan Lifelong Education, Achievement and Potential (MiLEAP), which will be led by a gubernatorial appointee. MiLEAP begins Dec. 1, 2023, and will be comprised of three offices including the Office of Early Childhood Education to oversee programs and policies statewide related to early learning and care, family engagement and education, pre-K, and child care. Various offices and staff will be transferred from several state departments to fill all three offices – Early Childhood Education, Higher Education and Education Partnerships – and they will collaborate with other State of Michigan departments and entities, as needed, to achieve their goals.

Lead Testing – House Bill 4200 and Senate Bill 31 (Public Acts 145 and 146) passed in 2023. They require children in the state to be tested for lead poisoning at 12 months old and 24 months old, beginning January 1, 2024. An additional test will be required between the ages of 2 and 6 if the child has no previous record of being tested. Children living in areas with a high risk of lead poisoning would also be tested at age 4.

Filter First – As an additional step to prevent lead exposure, Public Acts 154 and 155 of 2023 create the Clean Drinking Water Act and require schools and child care centers to install filtered-faucets, develop a drinking water management plan, and conduct routine sampling and testing to ensure safe and accessible drinking water for children.

Child Care – With an initial $100 million investment in child care starting in 2022, the Whitmer Administration’s Caring for MI Future program has exceeded its goal to open 1,089 new child care centers before the end of 2024, while also helping 2,159 home-based providers expand their programs across Michigan. In total, the program has added 36,783 new spots in child care facilities. Through Caring for MI Future, entrepreneurs gain access to a variety of resources to launch and expand their businesses. Supports include access to a team of LARA navigators, facility improvement grants, pre-licensure and start-up funding, business development tools, and support with recruiting and developing staff. Providers in nearly every county of the state have participated in Caring for MI Future. 

Gun Reforms – Surpassing motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of child injury, the issue of guns and legislation to control access were front and center during our 2023 legislative session. Public Acts 14-23 and 35-38 of 2024 included reforms to expand background checks, put in place safe storage requirements for guns, enable the temporary removal of weapons from individuals deemed to be a danger to themselves or others and remove sales and use tax from safety devices.

Taking Up ICHIA Option –  $32.1 million is included in the FY 24 state budget, and a Medicaid policy change is in place, to end Michigan’s five-year waiting period for immigrant children and pregnant individuals eligible to enroll in Medicaid or MIChild (CHIP). An estimated 8,000 individuals are impacted and now eligible for the full array of Medicaid benefits, including 12 months postpartum coverage for those eligible through pregnancy. HB 4740 will codify the change.

Additionally, a 10-bill package aimed at improving maternal and infant health moved out of House committee and is currently awaiting action (anticipated in 2024). Bills include statutory reference to levels of maternal care and the state’s perinatal quality collaborative, private insurance and Medicaid coverage for all pregnant individuals to receive a blood pressure monitor as well as mental health screenings at obstetric and pediatric visits.


Ongoing Grantee Areas of Advocacy:

The Alliance’s lead grantee in Michigan, Michigan Council for Maternal and Child Health, are working to advance early childhood policies in several areas that align with the Alliance’s birth-through-eight policy framework

Early Care and Education

Child and
Maternal Health

Maternal Health

Infant & Child Health

Early Intervention (Age 0-3)


Home Visiting

Paid Family and Medical Leave

Early Childhood Infrastructure

Early Childhood Finance and Cost Modeling

Early Childhood Governance

Click here for more information on advocates’ policy agenda.



1 Kids Count Data Center, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Children Ages 0 to 8 Below 200 Percent Poverty, November, 2022 

2 National Center for Children in Poverty, Children Ages 0 to 8 Below 200 Percent Poverty, March 2023, NCCP analysis of ACS 1-Year Estimates – Public Use Microdata Sample 2021

3 National Association of State Budget Officers, Summaries of Fiscal Year 2024 Enacted Budgets, October 11, 2023.

4 Urban Institute, State Fiscal Briefs, July 2023

5 National Conference of State Legislatures, 2023 State & Legislative Partisan Composition, February 28, 2023.

6 Ballotpedia, Ballot Measures by State, Kids Count Data Center, retrieved May, 2023.

7 Alliance for Early Success, Multi-State Initiatives for Early Childhood Policy Advocacy, April, 2022.

8 Alliance for Early Success, State-Wide Advocacy Highlights Survey, April-August, 2023.  

More State Policy Data:


More State Demographic Data: