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Starting a Christian Day Care
As with any day care or child care facility, you have to be licensed in order to open up and be a legally operating facility. License requirements may vary from state to state. However, most will involve health inspections and fire/safety inspections. There are also specific requirements per state as to what you must do to maintain your license. Those should also be considered before you open up.
For example, if you plan to open up a daycare center for kids between three and four years old in California, you will need to have one adult per 12 children. When they the child turns five, that ratio increases to 14 children per adult.
Every business should have a working business plan in order to be successful. Christian day cares are no exception. Daycare centers don’t start off cheap, so you may have to convince a potential lender of what you expect to do. Your business plan should outline the mission of your daycare, the amount of money you plan to spend on start-up, the revenues you expect to gain, and the overall structure of your service. It should also include your target market group. If you plan to run an education-based Christian daycare, for example, that should be noted in your plan. The Bplans website offers a model of what a child daycare business plan should look like.
Align With a Church
Once you have a business plan developed, you should align yourself with a church and present it to them. A church might see your daycare as a way to connect their Christian congregation with a Christian-based service. Churches might even have space available for you to rent. This also can help you reach your target market group. Furthermore, if your church provides community services to the needy and disadvantaged, they could be the centerpiece for receiving federal grants through the faith-based community initiative.
Lenders, Grants and Fundraising
If your Christian daycare meets the right structure, you may actually qualify for a government small business loan or grant. The Department of Health and Human Services has information on faith-based community services that qualify for federal money to help run a childcare. One example is the Child Care and Development Fund, which funds child care vouchers through faith-based organizations that are helping the needy. These vouchers can be used at your daycare to help pay for overall costs.
The nature of your Christian daycare can also help you get grants. If you plan to do early childhood education, your daycare could qualify for Head Start funding. If your meal plan includes dietary guidelines based on USDA recommendations, you could get reimbursements from the USDA.
Align yourself with any community child welfare advisory boards as well as local schools. If you are a participant in the faith-based voucher program, make sure these entities know about it. It can drive up business for you since needy parents are receiving federal aid to help pay for child care.
Whether you accept state vouchers or not, you might have to do some additional fundraising to make up for any necessary costs that could incur at the start of your daycare. Again, aligning with churches can help you raise the necessary money. If you create a non-profit organization to help your day care and follow their guidelines, any monies donated to it can be put towards your start-up costs.
Paul Bright has been writing online since 2006, specializing in topics related to military employment and mental health. He works for a mental health non-profit in Northern California. Bright holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of North Carolina-Pembroke and a Master of Arts in psychology-marriage and family therapy from Brandman University.