First Children’s Finance guides a cohort of Scott County child care centers and preschools through a process of business analysis and the development of their unique business plans to improve the sustainability of quality child care in Scott County. Following business planning, participating programs will receive training, business consulting and grants to continue to work on their improvements. Features of the program include a peer cohort model, volunteer business advisors who meet with the child care and preschool programs, business training, and business/ financial consulting focused specifically for early care and education programs.
Who is the program for?
All child care directors in Scott County are invited to participate in training events that will be posted on the Iowa DHS Child Care Training Registry. Participants in the cohort portion of the program submitted applications in the fall of 2014. Programs are asked to include information about their program, services for low income families, their commitment to quality and how they will make use of the opportunity. Participants must not already receive support from Head Start, Early Head Start, Shared Visions, Statewide Voluntary Preschool, or other programs according to Tool G Rules. A volunteer advisory group assists in the selection of participants.
How has the program helped families and children?
First Children’s Finance is an outstanding support for early childhood administrators. Even as seasoned director, I had the opportunity to obtain new information and support with the implementation of goals and strategies. This process brings people together. Families, teachers, and the community are able to see the strong impact early childhood programming has on our children and our community. They can also see how they can get involved and that they have much to offer—often times not a dollar amount but instead resources and connections that will strengthen early childhood programming. –Debra Brownson, Child Care Director
“Not only did I gain important information to help with my job through the presentation, but also from the group/sharing activities.” –Lisa Conger, Child Care Director
“I can not wait to go back to my work and create new job descriptions, a new orientation, and new performance reviews for my staff. I also will begin taking time each month to focus on staff retention. First Children’s Finance classes are so informative. I never leave a training without a list of 15 To-Do’s.”—Training attendee.
The Growth Fund Grants have been an exceptional experience for our center. We not only gained sustainable funds to help meet required standards, but through the training we gained use of the Breakeven Analysis and experience writing grants; which will help secure a brighter future for the children and families we serve. Sharing information and encouragement during the First Children’s Finance trainings with various other centers was a very positive experience. —Char Knutsen, Calvary Preschool Director
Positive Parenting at Trinity would like to thank First Children’s Finance for the opportunity to network with other Early Childhood programs. It is comforting to hear the business struggles and successes of other child care programs. First Children’s Finance should be proud of the support provided to a variety of early childhood programs allowing success to occur at varying levels of business survival.–Child Care Director
Our association with the First Children’s Finance program has helped us to see and understand the important components of operating a business. We have held focus groups, made quality improvements and changed our way of advertising to help us promote our programs and fill open slots. In addition, we have a better understanding of our break even analysis which will help to guide us and we make decisions in the future. –Child Care Director
Any questions about First Children’s Finance or the Scott County Growth Fund program should be directed to Heidi Schlueter, Iowa Regional Director, at Heidi@FirstChildrensFinance.org. You can also download a brochure to learn more about the program.