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

What's next?

Since its inception in 2016, Hope Starts Here, Detroit’s Early Childhood Partnership, has engaged families, businesses, child education and health experts, and the larger community in creating a vision to ensure that children are born healthy, prepared for kindergarten, and on track for success by third grade and beyond. Hope Starts Here aims to, at last, make a Detroit a city that puts children first.

On Nov. 22, 2019, hundreds of Detroiters – parents, teachers, early childhood providers, administrators and activists alike – gathered on the campus of Marygrove College for the third annual Hope Starts Here Summit. For the wide community engaged in refashioning the system that supports early childhood in Detroit, this was an opportunity to network, measure progress and map next steps for the Hope Starts Here framework and an introduction to Hope Starts Here’s first implementation director, Denise Smith.

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How We’re Addressing These Challenges



“All Detroit children – and their families – deserve the chance to thrive.”



“Healthy early childhood experiences begin at home.”



“Accessible, high quality early childhood experiences are essential for setting children on the right path.”



“Early childhood facilities should be considered essential ingredients for a healthy community”



“Working together, these systems – and the support and care they provide – can ensure children are born healthy and are set up to thrive.”



“Adequate resources are the biggest barrier we face in our work to ensure positive early childhood experiences for all of Detroit’s children.”

Why Are These Issues Important?

Hear More About The Importance Of Early Childhood Education

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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

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May 2019

Search for Implementation Director Launched

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November 2019

Third Annual Summit Held

Read a recap

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November 2019

Denise Smith named Implementation Director

Meet Denise

The Latest from Our Blog

February Policy Corner

February 10th, 2021

  Recently, we heard from the governor during her State of the State address and she mentioned the need for us to focus on common ground. Hope Starts Here policy priorities,… Read More

Shaping Public Policy

January 13th, 2021

In any society, governments pass laws, make policies, and allocate resources. For us this occurs at multiple levels: federal, state, and local governance. Public policy can be generally defined as a… Read More

Hope Starts with You

Taking Action

You can help!

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 to learn more.

Download English Download Spanish Download Arabic

Download the Executive Summary:

English | Spanish | Arabic

Take the Pledge

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