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Serv and Return:
Child Care Business Plans

“Serv and Return” is an occasional series that spotlights a recent exchange on the Alliance listserv—a widely used channel for the network to provide rapid-response resources and support to one another.  

In April, allies responded to a listserv request from an advocate in South Dakota:

Does anyone have or know where I could locate a template of a child care business plan and budget?”

Starting a child care business can be an often daunting and confusing process. The task of developing a reliable and effective business plan to assist in the design of a child care business can be very useful in understanding what it will take to operate a sustainable and successful program and business. Yet most often center and family child care owners and directors are educators first, and business leaders and entrepreneurs second– so having access to customizable tools like open source business plan templates that address the unique characteristics of starting and operating a child care business are a much-needed and sought after resource.

Luckily a growing body of DIY business planning tools exist to address this need:

The Child Care State Capacity Building Center, an initiative of the The Child Care Technical Assistance Network at the US Office of Child Care, compiled resources from across the country to inform  a resource guide to support Child Care providers who are starting and operating a child care center.

Child Care Aware of America (CCAoA) provides an Operating a Child Care Program webpage that includes tips and resources  for both center based and family child care administrators looking to start a child care business. CCAoA has also developed a variety tools and templates to support child care providers and adjacent agencies in understanding key considerations for starting a child care business, including the Opening a Child Care Business Guide which includes a series of interactive checklists and a budget planner template and the  Business Supports Companion Guide which provides additional resources to support both providers and CCR&Rs. In 2020, to facilitate the participation in  CCAoA worked in collaboration with Idaho child care providers,  state advocates,  seven regional Child Care Resource Centers (CCRCs) and the Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children (IDAEYC)  to develop the state specific  “Idaho Child Care Center Business Guide”.

For those seeking more hands-on support in designing and developing their child care businesses

First Children’s Finance makes their expertise available to cohorts of providers of every type and size in partnering states. Cohort supports range from start-up considerations, guidance and business plan development to targeted expertise on specific business improvement areas, such as increasing teacher compensation, business growth planning and marketing.  

Once a child care business has been established the Opportunities Exchange (OppEx) provides a plethora of open source  Financial Management Toolkits  to support the ongoing business practices of child care provides which include everything from a customizable budget templates, to Financial Management Self-Assessment tools, Financial Management Coaching Companion for both center and family child care business operators.

Additionally, CCA Global Partners for Social Good (CCA) works with host partners in states to build online resource toolkits that provide a systems approach to addressing the challenges and needs of nonprofit child care  program operators. CCA is currently helping state partners in 35 states to support local center and family child care businesses to work smarter by providing curated planning and business management resources that are editable.

If after you explore the resources provided above you want to learn more, please contact the following Alliance allies:

For more information about at Child Care Aware of America’s tools and templates for starting a center-based or family child care, or the Idaho business please contact Anne Hedgepath. To learn more about the Idaho Child Care Center Business Guide, please contact, Diane Girouard.

For more information about the First Children’s Finance child care business cohort program, contact Heidi Hagel Braid

For information about OppEx’s financial management tools for center-based and FCC providers contact Louise Stoney at the Opportunities Exchange.

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