Resource Centers

The Great Start to Quality Resource Center serves Allegan, Barry, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph and Van Buren counties. Located in Portage, MI, our Resource Center helps families with their Southwest Michigan child care search and supports providers with improving their programs.

We have been providing services for families seeking child care in Southwest Michigan for over 40 years. Being a Great Start to Quality Resource Center allows us the opportunity to achieve our mission making sure that children in our region have access to quality child care that is safe and provides inspiring care for children.

Services for Parents

Help in Finding Child Care:

  • Assistance in navigating the Great Start to Quality website to generate your own referral list.
  • Assistance through staff generated referral lists based on your individual needs. 
  • Referrals to Great Start Readiness Programs in our community.

Help for Paying for Child Care:

  • Referrals to the Department of Health and Human Services to access child care subsidies.
  • Referrals to scholarship programs that are available.

Referrals to other community programs for services:

  • Lists of resources in each county that might meet the needs of individual families.

Information on Early Childhood:

  • Staff are available to answer questions about early childhood development and concerns.
  • Trainings that deal with a variety of topics can be attended by parents.
  • Lending library that includes resources such as books on early childhood, learning bins, children's books and a variety of other materials.

Services for Child Care Providers

  • Trainings are held on a monthly basis in each of the counties that we serve.
  • Quality Improvement Specialists are available to assist child care providers and programs who want to participate in the Great Start to Quality system.
  • Quality Improvement Consultants are available to provide support in improving and maintaining quality for those providers and programs participating in the Great Start to Quality system.
  • Resources are available for unlicensed and licensed and registered child care programs in our Lending Library.
  • Technical Assistance is available for all providers via email or phone.
  • Monthly Child Care Connections meetings for home based providers and Center Directors meetings are also available.

The Southwest Resource Center provides additional services to unlicensed, subsidized providers as well as registered and licensed home based providers in Kalamazoo County. These opportunities are funded through Michigan Department of Education-Office of Great Start with the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge grant.  The Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge staff provide services to a cohort of 20 unlicensed, subsidized care providers through training and technical support to improve the quality of care they offer.  They also outreach to licensed and registered home based providers to assist them in entering into the Great Start to Quality system.

Our Staff

Administrative Staff

  • Program Director -April Goodwin
  • Director of Business and Resources - Renee Diaz
  • Administrative Assistant - Keyara Harley

Quality Improvement Specialists

  • Ra'Shel Abbott - serves Calhoun, Branch and Barry counties
  • OPEN - serves Berrien, Cass and Van Buren counties
  • OPEN - serves Calhoun county
  • OPEN - serves Allegan, Saint Joseph counties and center providers in Kalamazoo county
  • Pam Sward - serves all counties with the coordination of all training offered by our Resource Center

Quality Improvement Consultants

  • Amy Thill - serves part of Kalamazoo county, and Cass and Calhoun counties
  • Jodi Graham - serves part of Kalamazoo county, and Berrien and Van Buren counties
  • Stephanie Ludwig - serves part of Kalamazoo county, and Branch and St. Joseph counties
  • OPEN - serves Allegan and Barry counties
  • Stephanie Giolitto - serves Allegan and Barry counties

Community Resources

We work with many people and organizations in the community to provide you, your family and your program with the resources you need to help your family and children succeed.

Local Partners

In order to provide you and the children in our community with the best opportunities, we partner with various people, organizations and places to help make those opportunities available to you.