According to the Center for Rural and Policy Development, “The reality is that the (child care) shortage is creating a ripple effect with a very real impact, not just on families, but on employers and entire communities…” Without child care, parents are unable to fully participate in the workforce.

Families First created a program to address the growing shortage of family child care providers in southeast Minnesota.  The Child Care Consultation Program is for individuals located in within Dodge, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Houston, Mower, Olmsted, Rice, Steele, Wabasha, or Winona County that are in the process of becoming licensed, or newly licensed within the past six months. Participants in the program join a cohort to gain access to monthly learning community meetings, 19 hours of no-cost, approved business and child development training, individualized coaching, technical assistance, and up to $1,000 in grant funding to help with start-up costs.

Enrollment in the next cohort is underway! For more information about the Child Care Consultation Program or to get started, visit our Facebook page, call Gwen at (507) 287-2020 x1501 or email


“I’m so thankful for this program. It is really well thought out and organized. The required tasks are simple and not terribly time consuming. The grant money at the end was so helpful in purchasing some larger, more expensive toys for my child care than I would have been willing to spend out of my own pocket. Now I have new toys and safety equipment, lots of great ideas and some incredible resources to start out my new child care! Thank you so much.”

-Participant of the first cohort of the Child Care Consultation Program

“These meetings were so helpful at building confidence as a provider and I really feel as I am starting out on the right foot! Shannon is an amazing mentor”


“The licensing process is overwhelming, and this program took a lot of the fear out. Shannon, others in the class at different stages, etc.- it was a real wealth of knowledge.”


“So educational and very helpful for a beginner that was very overwhelmed with the whole process. Was great to go through the process with others and help each other out!”