Michigan Office of Great Start
On June 29, 2011, the governor of Michigan signed an executive order creating the Michigan Office of Great Start within the state Department of Education. The creation of this office included a charge to lead efforts to coordinate and integrate Michigan’s investments in children from before birth through age 8.
The purpose of the office is to create a coherent health and early learning system that aligns, integrates, and coordinates Michigan’s early childhood investments from prenatal to third grade. The Office of Great Start is responsible for ensuring that all children birth to age eight, especially those in highest need, have access to high-quality early learning and development programs and enter kindergarten prepared for success.
The Governor outlined a single set of early childhood outcomes against which all public investments will be assessed:
- Children are born healthy;
- Children are healthy, thriving, and developmentally on track from birth to third grade;
- Children are developmentally ready to succeed in school at the time of school entry; and
- Children are prepared to succeed in fourth grade and beyond by reading proficiently by the end of third grade.
The Office of Child Development and Care and the Head Start State Collaboration Office, both formerly located in the Department of Human Services, and the Office of Early Childhood Education and Family Services, formerly in the Department of Education, came together to form the Office of Great Start. The executive order also required that the Department of Community Health, which oversees home visiting, WIC, and maternal and child health programs, coordinate with the Office of Great Start on administration of programs and services that affect early childhood development. The Superintendent of Public Instruction oversees the new office.
On August 1, 2012 Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed into law Public Act No. 291, ensuring the state’s investment in home visiting goes to proven, effective programs. The Act mandates that home visiting programs track and measure outcomes such as: fewer preterm births, reduction in child abuse, improved family self-sufficiency and increased school readiness. The law requires that all of Michigan’s funding for home visiting go to support evidence-based or promising programs, ensuring the state will receive solid returns on investment for taxpayers and strong results for participating families.
In 2013, the Office of Great Start engaged stakeholders across the state in development of Great Start, Great Investment, Great Future: The Plan for Early Learning and Development in Michigan. The comprehensive plan contains six recommendations and numerous priority action items within each recommendation for advancing early learning and development. The recommendations outline a plan for achieving early childhood outcomes through a persistent focus on the following areas: leadership, parent education and involvement, quality and accountability, coordination and collaboration, efficient funding, and access to quality programs.
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