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Big plans for boosting early childhood services in Detroit

young kids playing with toys on floor
Jennifer Guerra
Michigan Radio

There’s a big, coordinated push in Detroit for more and better early childhood services.

But first, its boosters need to come up with a plan.

The biggest boosters—and likely funders—of this “civic partnership” dubbed Hope Starts Here are the Kellogg and Kresge Foundations.

They’re rounding up groups and people with a role in Detroit’s early childhood services, from day care providers to pediatricians.

Kellogg Foundation CEO La June Montgomery Tabron says the idea is to come up with an “action plan” that lets everyone can claim ownership.

“So that the plan won’t have to be sold, it will be owned by those institutions and others,” Tabron said.

While the plan is still under works, Kresge Foundation CEO Rip Rapson says some of the big ideas are already there.

Rapson says there needs to be a focus on upgrading many child care facilities, and in “quality of training [and] certification” of child care providers.

Rapson says both the Kresge and Kellogg foundations have already heavily invested in early childhood initiatives in Detroit, where almost 60% of children lived in poverty as of 2012.

“It’s simply a question of whether there are ways we sort of need to ratchet up even further our investments, or perhaps invest in places where we hadn’t necessarily concentrated on until now,” Rapson said.

The goal is for the action plan to be finished by July.

Disclosure: The Kellogg Foundation is a financial supporter of Michigan Radio.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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