Early Development

We believe every child deserves the right start in life.

What we do

Our Bib to Backpack campaign empowers parents and caregivers to access resources to help their children reach developmental milestones before they step foot inside a classroom.

By collaborating with local hospitals, childcare providers and partner organizations, we're improving early-childhood literacy, increasing access to high-quality child care and expanding the number of youth and families we serve.


Ages and Stages Questionnaire

Parents with children ages 1 month to 5 1/2 years living in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties can take a questionnaire to screen their child’s development. It takes 10 to 20 minutes to complete the survey and a local specialist will provide individualized follow-up learning activities so that parents and caregivers can catch any delays in a young child's development.

Early Learning Communities

Workshops, peer networks and lending libraries are available to parents and caregivers to help provide them with the necessary skills to support the children in their lives.

Great Start to Quality

Michigan’s tiered rating system offers early childhood providers support to improve care and helps parents choose quality programs from an online database that meet their children’s needs.

Little Steps

Health care providers deliver reading materials and resources to encourage daily reading habits between new mothers and their children. United Way for Southeastern Michigan piloted this work with Henry Ford and DMC Sinai-Grace hospitals, who have now taken ownership of the strategy.

Race to the Top

This federal initiative provides competitive state grants to ensure that children with high needs are able to access high-quality early learning and development programs.

Social Innovation Fund

The Social Innovation Fund (SIF) powers United Way and our partners to develop evidence-based programs in support of our early childhood work through a $6 million federal grant so that they can be replicated throughout the region to create consistent value and impact.



parents and caregivers actively connect with an Early Learning Community per year


youth served through the Social Innovation Fund since inception


of children at strong risk for developmental delay improved their scores