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Free day care from Michigan Child Development & Care (CDC) Assistance.

Michigan provides subsidized child care to qualified families, if they meet the program’s eligibility requirements. In general, the low cost or free daycare program is offered to parents that are working full time, in job training, or attending school. Applicants also need to meet income criteria that are in place. Find how to apply for financial help to pay for child or care care as well as the application phone number below.

The free Child Development and Care (CDC) program is administered by the Department of Education. However grants as well as vouchers are offered locally, including in the cities of Detroit, Grand Rapids and others. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (formerly DHS) is responsible for eligibility determination for the CDC program.

The free CDC program was created in an effort to assist families with paying for their child care costs. There are other State of Michigan assistance programs that may provide additional help as well as ongoing support so that the parent can focus on working or acquiring new skills.

In order to be qualified, parents or substitute parents must meet the eligibility requirements for these programs as well, which are indicated below. As part of these service, parents can enroll into programs that can provide them with access to new skills (such as job training) or increase their education, including GED classes. These other resources can be important for the Michigan resident as they work to gain long term self-sufficiency.

The Child Development and Care program is flexible, meant to account for different activities such as employment; high school completion; family preservation and other approved activities. The CDC program is focused on ensuring access to quality care for the child. This is a reason that free vouchers may be given in some instances.

Michigan allows the parent to choose from a variety of licensed, registered, enrolled and unlicensed providers. This also provides more choice to the family that is seeking financial assistance. Vouchers are also only offered for assisting with the costs for qualified providers.

When applying for the free Child Development and Care Program, be sure to report income from all sources, including all of the family members who also live in the home. This can include, but is not limited to, your monthly income from a job, VA benefits, SSA, pension, SSI, and any money received from parents or guardians. Once you become eligible for the CDC program, if you move, DHHS also needs to be notified. This is another requirement of the state.





While the terms and conditions of the program can change over time, the main eligibility requirements for the CDC subsidy depend on household income, size, and the employment status of the family. The maximum income levels in place in Michigan will depend on your household size. So the larger your family and number of children you have, the higher your income can be.

The child also needs to be under the age of 13, with possible exceptions made for those with a disability. This requirement is in addition to the other criteria around income and employment/job training.

All CDC payments issued by the state of Michigan to the household are considered to be a subsidy, or a portion of the costs. Some low income families, depending on many criteria, may be given free government vouchers to pay for daycare in Michigan. At the time the department issues the subsidy a family contribution is deducted. In some instances the parent may also be asked to pay the provider any additional fees required.

Phone number for free or low cost daycare in Michigan

The family must select a child care provider in Michigan that is registered and/or licensed. As noted, the free or low cost subsidized day care program is now currently administered across the state by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. To learn more go to or you can dial 1-866-990-3227.

By Jon McNamara

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