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Starting a Child Care Center

Rural Information Center (U.S.) Beltsville, MD: USDA, National Agricultural Library, Rural Information Center, [2015] Rev.
Updated by Mary Louise Reynnells. February, 2015.  Last Modified, April 2021, VSG.
Original edition: September, 2005 by Patricia La Caille John.

Sleeping baby on blue blanket. CDC.



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.

  1. Occupational Outlook Handbook - Preschool and Childcare Center Directors (Updated 18 April 2022; Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor)
  2. Occupational Outlook Handbook - Childcare Workers (Updated 18 April 2022; Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor)

Types of Child Care

  1. Early Childhood Programs’ Scarcity Undermines America’s Rural Communities. Council for a Strong America. 2020.
  2. Early Care and Education in Rural Communities. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation Brief #2020-62. 2020.
  3. Faith-Based and Community Leaders Early Learning Toolkit. Washington, DC: US Department of Education. 2016.
  4. Child Care Providers - Information and Resources for Starting a Center. Child Care Aware® of America.
  5. Resource Guide: Starting and Operating a Child Care Business. 2020. Washington, DC: Office of Child Care, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 
  6. SBA's Learning Center: Online Business Courses. Washington, DC: Small Business Administration.
  7. Start Your Own Business. Washington, DC: Small Business Administration. Web-Based Resource.
  8. Getting Started: Simple Steps for Finding and Choosing Child Care.
  9. Access to Dependent Care Reimbursement Accounts and Workplace-Funded Childcare. US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  10. Types of Child Care. Child Care Aware of America.
  11. Family Child Care Homes.
  12. Child Care Resources Handbook. Washington, DC: United States Office of Personnel Management.

Funding Sources

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.

U.S. Department of Education programs that assist with child care efforts:

U.S. General Services Administration,

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has funding programs that support child care services.

  • Office of Head Start has programs that assist with nutrition, health, and education readiness for young children.

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.

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.

Native American Programs


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.


Most private funding is available to organizations and government entities, not individual child care centers

Technical Assistance

Funding Guides

Milestones for Childhood Development

  • 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.

Child Care Statistics/Data


Rural Information Center
National Agricultural Library
10301 Baltimore Ave., Room 109
Beltsville, MD 20705-2351