This morning Abbey Degenhardt from Dubuque County Early Childhood and Tara Roddick from Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) stopped by to chat about an exciting opportunity for our listeners.

Have you ever thought about starting your own home child care business?

Dubuque County Early Childhood is a local non-profit that is funded by the state called Early Childhood Iowa. They receive state funding and then allocate it to other non-profits in Dubuque County, including CCR&R, Parents As Teachers Program through Four Oaks, helping with immunizations through the VNA and the Clark Nursing Program.

They help over 5,000 kids with a focus on the majority aged between the ages of 0 and 5.

Right now there is a great need for child care providers. Abbey said the state of Iowa is considered a "child care desert." Our community is in need quality, affordable child care.

Child Care Resource and Referral is funded through Dubuque County Early Childhood. They help child care providers become registered in their homes and help child care centers become licensed. They also give assistance in helping both provide quality child care and regulations with the Department of Human Services.

The CCR&R also helps parents find child care and educate community members about quality child care and why it's important.

Right now, the CCR&R is giving folks in Dubuque County an opportunity to start a new home child care business.

Once you contact them, you'll get assistance in the process. There's a background check through the state, fingerprinting and some mandatory training before you become registered. They also help with health and safety requirements for your home.

Thanks to the Dubuque County Board of Supervisors, an incentive grant program has been put in place to help people start their home child care business with $5,000 over the first two years.

Once you finish your paperwork and background checks, fire extinguishers, smoke detectors and other basic health and safety items are provided to the child care providers. At this point, DHS comes in to do a pre-inspection. When you pass, the CCR&R then gives you a crib, crib sheets, cot and cot sheets for your business.

After you get your registration you'll receive a $2,000 stipend. After another six months you'll receive a $1,000 stipend, and then 18 months later you'll get another $1,000 stipend.

With the current funding, there is enough funding for 10 new home providers. If you're interested or have more questions you can call for details at 563-557-1628.

Thanks to Abbey and Tara for stopping in to fill us in on this great opportunity!

~Chris Farber