New program hopes to increase the number of child care businesses

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) -- In the last 20 years, the number of regulated child care businesses in La Crosse County has gone from 450 to under 100, according to The Parenting Place.

A play area at The Parenting Place

Now with a grant from the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families, The Parenting Place is encouraging more families to start their own business.

"Doing child care in your home is a great solution, particularly for a parent who maybe wants to stay home with a child or two. They have the income potential of taking additional children into their home, but they're also saving on their own child care costs," said The Parenting Place Early Child Care and Education Director Audra Wieser.

A new program will help offset startup costs that go with starting a child care business in a home.

"Some of those startup costs include background checks for every member of the family that is over 18 and those are $39 per person. There are also entry-level classes that they need to take in order to become certified, and the cost for those classes can be anywhere from $55 per class up to $200 and higher," said Wieser.

This is the first year The Parenting Place is doing the program.

It is open to anyone in La Crosse, Monroe, Juneau, and Crawford counties, helping with up to $500 in startup costs as well as support throughout the entire process.

"Help answer questions, provide technical assistance on how to set up your environment so that you have the best chance at success. We can help counsel potential providers on business practices that will help them create a budget, manage those expenses that they will have, and help track the incomes," explained Wieser.

Funds are limited in the program and those interested are encouraged to call The Parenting Place at (608) 784-8125.