Cheri M. Gioe, Merrill, Thomas A. | 5/4/2006 9:45:43 PM
Caring for children can be an exciting and rewarding field, but it’s also a huge responsibility, so an LSU AgCenter child-care associate says there are many factors to consider before starting a child-care business.
"Today, more then ever, families rely on two sources of income to meet monthly expenditures, so there is an increased need for child care," Cheri Gioe explains. "Many entrepreneurs with the dream of opening their own businesses see that need and choose to care for children."
Those businesses can be smaller ones that are known as family day-care home providers in Louisiana or be larger child-care centers. Either way, however, Gioe stresses caring for children can affect their lives and the lives of their families forever and is therefore a huge responsibility.
She says child-care entrepreneurs should consider these tips before beginning a business:
–It is imperative that a meeting with a representative from a bank or the Small Business Administration be scheduled to assess the need for child care in your community. An important question to ask yourself is whether the needs in your community will support your business.
–It is important to develop a business plan for starting and operating your small business. Things to consider in your plan are licensing requirements, professional standards, legal requirements, zoning, insurance and taxes. It also is important to develop a budget that includes startup and operational costs.
–Once the business details are taken care of, facility design and use of space also must be considered. This step includes choosing appropriate materials and equipment for a child-care program.
–As the facility is taking shape, it is important to educate yourself about staff recruitment, training, budgeting, policymaking for staff and families, health and safety issues, licensing regulations, curriculum and professional development.
For more information on starting a child-care program, Gioe says to contact the LSU AgCenter’s Family and Consumer Sciences program at (225) 578-3329 or your local child care resource and referral agencies:
–Volunteers of America Partnerships In Child Care, Baton Rouge region, (888) 926-8005.
–Northwestern State University Child and Family Network, Alexandria and Shreveport regions, (800) 796-9080.
–Excellence for Children, Lafayette and Lake Charles regions, (337) 332-8551.
–Children’s Coalition for Northeast Louisiana, Monroe region, (877) 206-0819.
–Agenda for Children, Orleans, Thibodaux and Covington regions, (800) 486-1712
The LSU AgCenter’s "Be Child Care Aware!" educational program is designed to educate parents and child-care providers about quality child care. It is funded, in part, through a contract with the Louisiana Department of Social Services’ Office of Family Support.