Guided Growth Overview

Does your child care center or preschool have business questions, such as whether to serve more children, how to afford adding staff, how to improve the budget or how to increase enrollments? The Guided Growth Program is your opportunity to grow with confidence!

Child care centers selected to participate in this program will receive professional business consulting including business practices that can improve each program’s sustainability and viability. In addition, participants will have exclusive access to child care specific business tools, DHS-approved trainings, and opportunities to network and exchange ideas with other centers.

Program Benefits

  • Exclusive access to business tools created specifically for child care centers and preschools.
  • Assistance developing your goals to provide a road map for informed decision-making.
  • Training focused on child care business topics will provide up to 12 hours of Iowa DHS and NAC renewal hours.
  • Consulting to address your unique business questions and challenges.
  • Opportunities to network with other directors and exchange ideas through a peer cohort model.
  • Access to sound advice from First Children’s Finance and a group of advisors made up of business and community members who are all dedicated to helping you.


The Guided Growth Program and other First Children’s Finance programs have been proven to help participants achieve their goals of increasing quality, growth, and resources. Participants have reported improvements such as higher enrollment, sustainable finances, increases in parent satisfaction, and decreases in staff turnover.

What past participants have said about this program

  • My knowledge of our unique financial needs and goals helps guide my work at the center. Knowing our breakeven math will help us make smarter decisions, and we know how to market our program.
  • We have gained knowledge in the areas of staffing, social media, budgeting and promoting ourselves in the community.
  • We have become more fiscally sound by making changes to our programming & tuition.
  • We have really made steps in the right direction in building a better understanding of the business financial side and how it comes together with serving families.

Eligibility Guidelines

For-profit and nonprofit child care centers and preschools that meet the following are eligible to apply:

  • Located in the following counties: Adams, Audubon, Carroll, Cass, Fremont, Greene, Guthrie, Harrison, Mills, Monona, Montgomery, Page, Pottawattamie, Ringgold, Shelby, Taylor, or Union.
  • Have a current Iowa DHS Child Care Center License and be in good standing, or be a school-based center that is converting from Department of Education to DHS Licensing by January 1, 2016.
  • Serving or willing to serve low income families.
  • Have been in operation for at least 6 months.
  • Participate in the Iowa Quality Rating System (QRS) or agree to apply by June 1, 2016.

How to Apply

Applications will be reviewed and considered as they are received. Applications will be accepted until the cohort is full or December 31, 2015, whichever occurs first. There is no cost to participate in this program.

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Program Timeline

November 15- December 31, 2015- Applications accepted until cohort full (see How to Apply).

December, 2015- January, 2016- Eligible applicants may receive a brief visit.

January 29, 2016- Selected applicants are notified.

February 11, 2016- Selected applicants attend a group orientation.

February 2016- September 2017- Program activities occur.

For more information

Contact Angie Rae Duncan at or (515) 229-5064.