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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 17 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations." (Bureau of Labor Statistics1) Additionally from the Bureau of Labor Statistics we see just how large the child care profession is as Child care workers held just over 1.3 million jobs in 2012 with "about 29 percent of childcare workers were self-employed in 2012." (Bureau of Labor Statistics2)

This Guide provides informational resources on for starting a rural child care center, childhood developmental resources, different types of child care programs, funding programs that have been used to assist child care centers, statistical resources, journals and organizations that provide information to child care providers and parents on topics of interest in this field.

  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Preschool and Childcare Center Directors, on the Internet at (visited February 03, 2015).
  2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Childcare Workers, on the Internet at (visited February 03, 2015).

Types of Child Care

  1. Child Care in Rural Areas: Top Challenges. Linda K. Smith. Arlington, VA: Childcare Aware of America. 18p. July 9, 2010. [PDF File 313.41KB]
  2. Early Childhood Facilities. Washington, DC: National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities, 2005. 28 p. http://
  3. A Guide to Resources and Funding for Community and Faith‐Based Organizations. Washington, DC: US Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families. 32p. February 2012. [PDF File 1.16 MB]
  4. Insurance for your Business. Child Care Aware. Arlington, VA: Child Care Aware® of America. (visited February 03, 2015)
  5. Perspectives on Rural Child Care. Betty A. Beach. ERIC Digest, ED403102, 1997. 4 p.
  6. Resource Guide: Starting and Operating a Child Care Business. Washington, DC: Office of Child Care, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. April 1, 2014.
  7. SBA's Learning Center: Online Business Courses. Washington, DC: Small Business Administration, Web-Based Resource. (visited March 22, 2019)
  8. Start Your Own Business. Washington, DC: Small Business Administration. Web-Based Resource. (visited March 22, 2019)
  9. A Comparison of Regulated Child Care in Rural and Urban Pennsylvania. Elizabeth E. Manlove, Margaret S. Benson, Martha J. Strickland, and Richard J. Fiene. Harrisburg, PA: The Center for Rural Pennsylvania. 24p. May 2011. [PDF file 1.51MB].
  10. Choosing Child Care: Child Care Options. Healthwise Staff. Boise, ID: Healthwise, Inc., Last Revised: October 9, 2013.
  11. Kids at Work: The Value of Employer-Sponsored On-Site Child Care Centers. Connelly, Rachel, Deborah S. DeGraff, and Rachel A. Willis. Kalamazoo, MI: Bowdoin College W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, 2004. 175 p.
  12. An Overview: The Different Types of Child Care. Child Care Aware of Washington State. Online resource. (viewed February 03, 2015).
  13. Rural Families Choose Home-Based Child Care. Smith, Kristin. Perspectives Poverty, Policy, & Place, Vol.4, No.1; 2007. Page 2.
  14. Summary of Child Care Co-op Organizing Steps. Coontz, E. Kim. Davis, CA: California Center for Cooperative Development, 1p. Web-based resource. (Visited Sept. 13,2011) [PDF File 242.47KB]
  15. Types of Child Care. Child Care Resources Handbook. Washington, DC: United States Office of Personnel Management. Online resource. (viewed February 03, 2015).

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:

  • The 21st Century Community Learning Centers  (84.287) program offers an after-school environment that provides enrichment opportunities for children.
  • The Child Care Access Means Parents in School (84.335) 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. Contact this program at:

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

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

Child Care Statistics/Data


John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Child Care In Practice.

Affiliated with the National Association for the Education of Young Children, Elsevier.

Texas Workforce Commission

  • Child: Care, Health and Development
  • Child Care in Practice
  • Early Childhood Research Quarterly
  • Texas Child Care Quarterly

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