Child Care Centers Recognized in Scott County, Iowa

At a time when so many families are concerned about finding quality child care, four Scott County child care and preschool centers were recently recognized for their quality improvements and growth. With help from First Children’s Finance, Scott County Kids Early Childhood Iowa and the Iowa Department of Human Services, each of the centers assessed their child care business operations, developed a business improvement plan, and received grant funds to support the implementation of significant improvements through the Scott County Growth Fund Program.

The following child care and preschool centers were recognized for completing the program:

  • Eldridge Preschool & Childcare; Natalie Kruse and Alisa Haedt, Owner/Directors
  • Noah’s Ark Preschool; Sara Seberg, Director
  • Scott County Family YMCA—Newcomb Early Learning Center; Megan denBlaauwen, Director
  • St. Alphonsus Early Childhood Education Center; Shelly McIntosh, Director

The Growth Fund Program provided the child care centers with business training, one-on-one business consulting, meetings to network and exchange ideas, and small grants to help implement the centers’ goals. According to Natalie Kruse and Alisa Haedt, Co-owner/Directors of Eldridge Preschool & Childcare: “The breakeven analysis provided us with a visual on what programs could benefit from expansion. As well, this allowed us to explore a variety of programming options… Our Business Improvement Plan has helped us organize valuable information regarding our center.”

Results achieved by the centers included: improved business functions, greater confidence in financial management, increased enrollment numbers, increased enrollment numbers for low income families, additional outside funding secured for facility renovations, increased ratings in the Iowa Quality Rating System (QRS) for Child Care Centers, and improved playground and classroom environments.

Forty child care centers across Iowa have completed the Growth Fund Program since 2008, and a new cohort will be launching in Scott County in September 2018. Heidi Schlueter, First Children’s Finance Regional Director for Iowa since 2010, is passionate about the Program. “The centers grow and improve in so many facets of their business and operations, which make the centers more sustainable than possible through training alone. I am especially excited for the child care directors and owners who find sustainable ways to expand their quality services to serve more children in Scott County.”

First Children’s Finance is a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to increase the sustainability and supply of quality child care. The Iowa Branch of First Children’s Finance has assisted hundreds of child care programs with child care specific business training, consulting, grants, loans and other valuable programs like the Scott County Growth Fund Program. For more information about these and other First Children’s Finance programs in Iowa, please contact Heidi Schlueter at

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