“Where can I get a grant to help me start or expand my family child care business?”
It’s a common question for many family child care providers who don’t have a lot of cash on hand.
The answer is discouraging.
The federal government does not offer any direct grants to family child care providers. Private foundations and corporations are unlikely to give grants to providers. Other than a few special programs, the only source of grants is through Child Care Resource and Referral agencies.
Child Care Resource and Referral
In most states, these agencies offer selective grant programs that are funded by the federal Child Care Development Block Grant and sometimes state dollars. Usually the grant cycle is every two years. Contact your local CCR&R agency for more information. They will know about any grant programs in your area.
There are several online services (here and here) that purport to offer access to grants for family child care providers. These sites charge a registration fee of $30 and will send you a list of grant prospects. Although I haven’t tried to use these services, I don’t believe they are helpful because there are no federal grants directly available to you.
Has anyone tried to use these services?
Other Possible Options
Some states or private organizations may offer grant programs. One example is VOICE, a New York union that offers up to $500 grants to New York providers living outside New York city.
Why no Grants?
Why aren’t there more grant programs available other than those through your local Child Care Resource and Referral agency?
Family child care providers are for-profit businesses. (Although it may not feel like it!) Few government programs or private foundations or corporations will support for-profit businesses with grants.
It would make little difference if you decided to set up a tax-exempt non-profit organization to operate your business. First, it would be extremely difficult to establish a tax-exempt organization when you serve so few children. Second, organizations that might have money are reluctant to deal with businesses that serve only a handful of children.
There are a few more opportunities to get a loan versus a grant. See my article “Where to Get a Loan.”
What other sources of grants or loans do you know about?
Tom Copeland – www.tomcopelandblog.com
Image credit: usuchild.usu.edu