Here are the four key organizations that every family child care provider should be connected to:
Child Care Resource and Referral agencies – These non-profit organizations (many are now called Child Care Aware) refer parents to local child care providers. They offer training, technical assistance, information about grants and loans, and many other services. You can also call this number to find your local agency: 800-424-2246.
Family Child Care Associations – The national organization is the National Association for Family Child Care. Some states have state associations and there are numerous local associations.
Family Child Care Licensing agencies – Each state has its own rules about when family child care providers must be licensed or regulated. This is a link to the state agencies where you can find out how to contact your local county agency. There is also a link here to state licensing regulations.
Food Program Sponsors – All regulated family child care providers are eligible to join the Food Program. You will receive reimbursements for each nutritious meal you serve. Providers can expect to get about $560 or $1,170 per child per year for serving a breakfast, lunch and snack. You are always better off financially if you join.
Here are some additional resources that can help you be more successful as a business:
Child Care Law Center – This California organization offers a number of free downloadable publications on the Americans with Disability Act as well as publications for providers in California on insurance, ADA, and license-exempt care.
Childcare.gov – This is the official source for information on child care from the U.S. government. It contains business information under “Business Startup and Operation.” Although some of the information is geared towards child care centers, it does contain some useful information for providers.
North Dakota Child Care Resource and Referral – Click on “Search for Training” for five self-paced on line classes (written by Tom Copeland) on Taxes and Record Keeping, Contracts and Policies, Marketing, Legal and Insurance Issues, and Money Management and Retirement Planning. These classes are free and contain only a few citations to North Dakota rules. This site also contains numerous articles and resources on the business of family child care.
Quality Rating & Improvement System (QRIS) – This is a state by state program that rates family child care providers who meet a set of defined quality standards that are higher than state licensing standards. This site contains contact information for the more than 20 states that offer this program. Here’s an article I wrote about QRIS.
Update: Here’s a new link to the Michigan QRIS program.
United States Small Business Administration Within the SBA is the Office of Women’s Business Ownership that oversees a network of Women’s Business Centers. These Centers offer business training, counseling and other resources to help women grow their business. Some of these local organizations help family child care providers. The direct link to the Women’s Business Centers in your state can be found here.
Family child care websites – There are thousands of family child care providers who have created their own website. These websites contain a wealth of information for providers looking for sample contracts, marketing ideas, program activities, and links to other resources on the Internet. To find these websites you can Google “family child care websites”.
Here are some websites that offer free sample contracts and policies and other forms:
http://stepbystepcc.com/forms.html – This website also offers tax and record keeping information