Our team successfully partners with foundations and community organizations, economic development organizations, and other early education centric organizations to implement meaningful solutions for child care business challenges.
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Click the links below to explore some of our recent success stories and discover how we’ve helped communities overcome obstacles and gain positive outcomes.
Understanding the Child Care Space Shortage; Building for the Future
Crawford County’s Desired Outcomes:
Leaders in Crawford County, Illinois understood the lack of child care in their area was constraining the local economy. At the time, there were nearly 700 children under age 5 who had all available parents working, and only about 300 licensed child care spaces in the area. If workers couldn’t find adequate child care, the region’s major employers couldn’t attract workers. Local stakeholders led by the Crawford County Development Association wanted to better understand the needs of the community and develop an actionable plan to address those needs.
Stakeholders contracted with Business of Child Care (BOCC), which helped the community first understand their desired outcomes. These included opportunities to support existing child care providers while being intentional in creating new spaces. Through this work, the Crawford County Kids Association (CCKA), a new 501c3 non-profit association, was created, and overall efforts have helped support development efforts for a new private child care center with 100 new slots coming online in late 2023. Work is also underway to open a non-profit child care center centered on unmet community needs, providing an additional 85 slots.
With BOCC’s guidance, work has also included support for existing providers – both training and recognition to support ongoing growth and sustainability. This included individual business consulting support to help existing child care businesses to ensure their operations were set up to meet their goals and be sustainable.
Additional support from BOCC includes guidance on community efforts to help the local high school and community college develop new training which will help the community grow its workforce. This has resulted in early successes with new classes in early education that are full with students interested in new local opportunities.
Creating More Sustainable Child Care Businesses
Moultrie County’s Desired Outcomes:
Moultrie County is a rural area in central Illinois, struggling with a lack of child care to serve young families. Local stakeholders were looking for ways to support development of new child care options that increased capacity as well as created new options for families. The community had over 500 children under age 5 with fewer than 200 licensed child care spaces to serve all families.
Business of Child Care (BOCC) began working with the Sullivan Chamber and Economic Development Organization in May of 2022 to assess community needs and help stakeholders identify goals. BOCC provided guidance to help the local team secure more than $400,000 in funding through the county’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) allocation.
The money was used to provide grants to incentivize local child care business owners to grow their programs, while BOCC’s business consultation services provided start-up assistance, training, and support. This approach improved the quality and sustainability of local child care businesses.
Since the effort began, 75% of existing family child care providers have joined Illinois’ quality rating and improvement program, and Moultrie County is on track for 100 new child care slots in 2024.
“Jeff and his team at Business of Child Care provided the piece of the puzzle we were missing when we began to address the child care crisis in our area. They provided the staffing we needed to bring stakeholders on board, and the expertise required to assist prospective child care business owners.
Child Care has not only increased in our area, but it has also improved through the work of Business of Child Care. Our current providers feel appreciated and supported, and our new providers have the tools they need to open their businesses and be successful.”
– Laurrie Minor, Director, Sullivan Chamber of Commerce, Moultrie County, Ill.
Increasing Child Care Capacity for Regional Economic Growth
SMIF’s Desired Outcomes:
The Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) works to advance economic growth throughout 20-counties in south central and southeastern Minnesota. SMIF was looking to expand its direct support of child care capacity within the region, as well as a plan to strengthen existing child care business owners.
SMIF hired Business of Child Care (BOCC) founder Jeff Andrews in 2020 to help the organization with this effort through consultation and support for child care business owners and the communities they serve. This work has included ongoing technical assistance and business resource deployment in the region. This work has supported creation of approximately 800 new child care slots in the region since July 2020 including spaces in new child care centers and family child care businesses.
In addition to new capacity, similar services and support have been offered to existing child care businesses throughout the region. This business support and guidance has helped with retention efforts of over 70 child care businesses representing nearly 1,500 existing child care spaces. This includes support on topics from staffing to enrollment management to managing difficult situations.
In 2023, BOCC expanded its partnership with SMIF, bringing its Whole Community Approach of stakeholder-building, community ideation and strategic planning to communities in the region. These efforts are helping communities get organized to act in ways that are impactful to their area. SMIF is also hosting the first ever Whole Community Child Care Consortium. BOCC will be working with a cohort of four communities to guide them through the Whole Community process while they also benefit from ongoing sharing of experiences and outcomes.
Addressing Multiple Needs in a Child Care Desert
Yadkin County’s Desired Outcomes:
In 2021, the Shallow Ford Foundation of North Carolina released its report indicating a dire need for child care in the area, particularly in Yadkin County, where there are 19 children for every licensed child care slot. Not only did the county face a severe lack of licensed child care slots, but the foundation’s report also found niche needs were not being met, including child care for 2nd and 3rd shift workers. A labor shortage was also identified, exacerbated by low wages that couldn’t compete with market rates for entry-level jobs in the region. The Shallow Ford Foundation and Yadkin County were looking for a partner to help create new child care spaces and address the need for child care during non-traditional hours.
Business of Child Care (BOCC) began working with The Shallow Ford Foundation and Yadkin County in October of 2021.
BOCC introduced stakeholders to its pioneering EarlyEd FlexPlex, which allows a community to create a space for multiple child care businesses to operate independently under one roof, including businesses filling critical ‘niche’ needs. EarlyEd FlexPlex incentivizes business creation by providing an environment with lower start-up costs, less risk and business support for owners to flourish.
BOCC provided support as stakeholders took on one of their biggest challenges, petitioning the state to amend its child care regulations to allow for innovative approach to space use for child care. Efforts are underway to begin construction in Yadkinville, NC, on the new facility that will house six independent businesses, including some that can address the county’s specific niche needs, and provide over 50 new child care slots overall.
Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation
We provide consultation and support to child care business owners and operators and the communities they serve through ongoing technical assistance and business resource deployment.
Crawford County, IL
We are supporting the Crawford County Development Association and broader Crawford County, Illinois area with the Whole Community Approach.