Starting a Child Care Center
Rural Information Center (U.S.) Beltsville, MD: USDA, National Agricultural Library, Rural Information Center,  Rev.
Updated by Mary Louise Reynnells. February, 2015. Last Modified, April 2021, VSG.
Original edition: September, 2005 by Patricia La Caille John.
- Types of Child Care Programs
- Funding Sources
- Milestones for Childhood Development
- Child Care Statistics/Data
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, through the information in the Occupational Outlook Handbook, "Employment of preschool and childcare center directors is projected to grow 11 percent from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for all occupations." (Bureau of Labor Statistics).
The Joint Resource Guide was developed in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture – Rural Development (USDA-RD) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Administration for Children and Families (HHS-ACF) Office of Early Childhood Development. The purpose of this guide is to provide useful information to help stakeholders in rural communities – including Tribes and Tribal organizations – address the need for improved access to affordable, high-quality child care and early learning facilities.
- Occupational Outlook Handbook - Preschool and Childcare Center Directors (Updated 18 April 2022; Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor)
- Occupational Outlook Handbook - Childcare Workers (Updated 18 April 2022; Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor)
- Early Childhood Programs’ Scarcity Undermines America’s Rural Communities. Council for a Strong America. 2020.
- Early Care and Education in Rural Communities. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation Brief #2020-62. 2020.
- Faith-Based and Community Leaders Early Learning Toolkit. Washington, DC: US Department of Education. 2016.
- Child Care Providers - Information and Resources for Starting a Center. Child Care Aware® of America.
- Resource Guide: Starting and Operating a Child Care Business. 2020. Washington, DC: Office of Child Care, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
- SBA's Learning Center: Online Business Courses. Washington, DC: Small Business Administration.
- Start Your Own Business. Washington, DC: Small Business Administration. Web-Based Resource.
- Getting Started: Simple Steps for Finding and Choosing Child Care. Childcare.gov
- Access to Dependent Care Reimbursement Accounts and Workplace-Funded Childcare. US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Types of Child Care. Child Care Aware of America.
- Family Child Care Homes. Childcare.gov
- Child Care Resources Handbook. Washington, DC: United States Office of Personnel Management.
When starting a funding search you may want to review all possible options that could be used for child care programs including, federal, state, and private resources. Child Care providers may want to review the items in this guide to assist in developing a list of possible resources.
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has programs that assist with care care facilities, child care businesses and food programs that support child care centers and family day care homes.
- Rural Development. Provides facilities and business programs to assist rural communities.
- Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant Program: For non profit organizations, tribal and Rural governments.
- Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program: For non profit organizations, tribal governments, and Institutions of higher learning that then can assist rural businesses with Rural Microloan Revolving Fund.
- Find the Rural Development Office in Your State
- Child Day Care Centers - Child and Adult Care Food Program. USDA Food and Nutrition Service. "Provides nutritious meals and snacks to infants and children as a regular part of their day care."
U.S. Department of Education programs that assist with child care efforts:
- Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers provide academic enrichment opportunities during non-school hours for children.
- The Child Care Access Means Parents in School program provides funding to support or establish child care programs serving low-income students enrolled in college. Only institutions of higher education are eligible.
U.S. General Services Administration,
- Donation of Federal Surplus Personal Property Program allows for the donation of surplus federal personal property (computers etc.) to state and local public agencies and qualifying nonprofits.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has funding programs that support child care services.
- The Office of Child Care has several funding programs for child care facilities.
- Child Care and Development Fund Factsheet provides assistance to low-income families who need child care due to work, work-related training and/or attending school
- Office of Head Start has programs that assist with nutrition, health, and education readiness for young children.
- Early Head Start National Resource Center
- Head Start Center Locator
- Culture and Language. Head Start Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center
- Head Start Family Child Care Program Option
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) supports child care facilities near or within public housing. To determine eligibility or to apply for any of the programs listed below, contact your state HUD office.
U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section provides information to child care centers regarding compliance to the Americans with Disabilities Act. This program has an ADA Information Line (1-800-514-0301) that provides answers to general and technical questions about ADA compliance.
- Child Care Centers and the Americans with Disabilities Act (Commonly Asked Questions)
- National Network Contacts for local ADA Centers
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) provides small businesses financing options, technical assistance, and child care resource information. Check you local Small Business Administration offices at
for more information and applications.
- Small Business Administration's Financing Your Business provides details on all their financial programs.
- Small Business Administration's Starting and Managing a Business provides links to all the basics information on business startup, planning, financing and managing.
- Small Business Administration's Office of Women's Business Ownership provides Women with specific business assistance and training.
- Administration for Children & Families (ACF), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
- Family and Child Education (FACE), Bureau of Indian Education (BIE). "FACE was initiated in 1990, and currently has programs in 44 Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) funded schools. It was designed as a family literacy program; an integrated model for an early childhood/parental involvement program for American Indian families in BIE-funded schools."
- Head Start, National Center on Cultural and Linguistic Responsiveness
- Indian Health Service, School Health
- Indian and Native American Programs, Employment and Training Administration, Department of Labor. Employment and Training Administration Division of Indian and Native American Programs (DINAP)
Consult the child care resources and referral agency in your area for information on available state funding and/or technical assistance programs, licensing and regulations.
- Child Care State Capacity Building Center "will deliver expert consultation, TA support, and informational products to support Administration for Children and Families’ priorities and State and Territory goals."
- Child Care Data Explorer and State Profiles. Washington, DC: Office of Child Care Technical Assistance Network.
Most private funding is available to organizations and government entities, not individual child care centers
- Annie E. Casey Foundation. Baltimore, MD.
- Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. Flint, MI.
- The David and Lucile Packard Foundation. Los Altos, CA.
- Child and Family Development. U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Washington, DC.
- Child Care Technical Assistance Network (CCTAN). U.S. Health and Human Services, Office of Child Care.
- Local Initiatives Support Collaboration (LISC). New York, NY.
- Funding and Sustainability. Afterschool Alliance. Washington, DC.
- Resource Guide: Starting and Operating a Child Care Business. Washington, DC: U.S. Health and Human Services, Office of Child Care. Offered in both English and Spanish.
- Developmental Milestones.
- This Web site includes seven Milestone resources for children ages 2 months to 5 years. Parents and providers can obtain free information on these milestones through the Learn the Signs. Act Early. Public Outreach Campaign. The Rural Information Center is a partner in this campaign.
- ChildStats.gov. Washington, DC.
- Kids Count Initiative. Baltimore, MD: The Annie E. Casey Foundation.
- State of America's Children. Washington, DC: Children Defense Fund.
- Child: Care, Health and Development (Wiley Online Library)
- Child Care In Practice
- Affiliated with the National Association for the Education of Young Children (Elsevier)
- Texas Workforce Commission - Childcare Quarterly
- Child: Care, Health and Development
- Child Care in Practice
- Early Childhood Research Quarterly
- Texas Child Care Quarterly