By 2027, Detroit
will be a city that
puts its children
and families first.

Our Overview:

In fall 2016, Hope Starts Here launched.
This one-year community engagement process had three goals:


Create a vision of what early childhood could look like in Detroit


Develop a Community Framework to make that vision a reality


Inspire people across the city to get involved and bring that Community Framework to life

Our Values

Our work was guided by four beliefs:

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Every child in Detroit deserves the same chance to grow up and succeed.

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There are great ideas in Detroit, and there are great ideas outside of Detroit. We can and should learn from both.

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Every Detroiter has a role to play in making our city a great place for children. We can all do something.

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Healthy families mean healthy kids, so our work must focus on families, too.

Community Stories

More than 18,000 Detroit community members contributed to Hope Starts Here. That included families, childcare providers, educators, healthcare professionals, community advocates, business leaders, policy makers, funders, and many more.

Hope Starts Here was guided by a Stewardship Board made up of parents, childcare providers, early childhood educators, healthcare providers, local and state government, and business, community and philanthropic leaders.

Six Strategy Teams took on the big task of understanding the many problems children and families face in Detroit, then coming up with ideas to solve them. More than 240 parents, caregivers and others made up the Strategy Teams.

Detroit residents provided input, ideas and feedback in many ways, from a citywide parent survey to over 125 listening sessions.

We listened and learned from more than 18,000 Detroit parents, caregivers, educators and community members.


5 year old

Dr. Nakia Williams

Pediatrician, Henry Ford Pediatric Clinic

Esmeralda Torres

Mother of three

Rhonda Mallory-Burns

Head Start Director


8 year old

James Hill

Father of three

Our Timeline

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November 2016

Hope Starts Here Kicks Off

Watch the video

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December 2016

Strategy Teams and Stewardship Board formed

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December - January

Parent survey collects info on families’ hopes and needs.

Download the results

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January 2017

Strategy teams set Hope Starts Here vision

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February - May 2017

Strategy teams create ideas and solutions for Hope Starts Here’s 10-year framework

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March - April 2017

Listening sessions gather community views, dreams and ideas

Download the results

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April 2017

Detroit celebrates its first Day of the Young Child

Watch the video

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May 2017

Hope Starts Here featured at statewide Mackinac Policy Conference

Watch the video

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July 2017

Strategy teams finalize recommendations for 10-year framework

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November 2017

Framework is released

Download the framework

Our Vision:

Detroit will be a city where all children are healthy and thriving, and have high quality experiences that help them grow and develop.

Detroit will be a city where families feel supported raising their kids and use their power to make sure their children have high quality early childhood experiences.

Detroit will be a city where the professionals who care for our children are valued, well-trained and respected.

Detroit will be a city with many high quality spaces and places where children can learn.

Detroit will be a city where everyone understands that the first eight years of a child’s life are important, and that efforts to help our kids help all of us.

Detroit will be a city where the systems that affect early childhood have the funding they need to make an impact, and work with each other to do the most they can do.

Taking Action

How will we make our vision a reality?

Together, we came up with six imperatives — the things we must do to make Detroit a city that puts young children and families first.

The Six Imperatives

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Imperative #1: Promote the health, development and well-being of all Detroit children

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Imperative #2: Support parents and caregivers as children’s first teachers and champions

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Imperative #3: Increase the overall quality of Detroit’s early childhood programs

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Imperative #4: Guarantee safe and inspiring learning environments for our children

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Imperative #5: Create tools and resources to better coordinate the systems that impact early childhood

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Imperative #6: Find new ways to fund early childhood, and make better use of the resources we have

Hope Starts with You

What comes next?

View the Community Framework to learn more.

Every Detroiter has a role to play in making our city a great place for children.
It’s time to roll up our sleeves and get to work.

Download the Community Framework Download the Executive Summary

Take the Pledge

Detroit's kids need us.
I will be an early childhood champion.

The Latest from Our Blog

Hope Starts Here in Crain’s Detroit

January 7th, 2018

In Crain’s Detroit, Sherri Welch writes: “Detroit’s educational issues have made headlines for years. And for years, those who have tried to fix them have faced myriad road blocks, political and… Read More