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Child care is an economic driver for rural communities across the United States but many communities are facing shortages of high quality child care. Funded by the MN Department of Human Services and Michigan Department of Education, First Children’s Finance’s Rural Child Care Innovation Program (RCCIP) is an innovative community engagement process designed to increase the supply of high quality affordable child care in rural communities. The purpose of RCCIP is to guide communities in identifying the scope and size of their child care challenges, and to empower and support communities to develop solutions to address these challenges.


The work with these communities include: 

  • Events that provide education on the links between quality child care, rural economic development, and viable communities

  • Development of a community Core Team to drive change by identifying resources to increase the supply of high quality and affordable child care  

  • A thorough analysis of the community's current child care gaps and needs

  • Use of First Children’s Finance’s expertise, resources and tools, including research and financial modeling

  • Development of a Community Solution Action Plan that includes innovative solutions to increase the supply of high quality and affordable child care

  • Support and business improvement services to existing family child care providers and child care centers through business leadership cohorts and one-on-one consulting


Why should communities participate?

Communities with identified child care challenges impacting economic development in their community should consider submitting an application to be a part of the Rural Child Care Innovation Program. Child care shortages have a broad impact beyond the family, and communities need to address these issues with right-sized solutions that meet the unique aspects of the community.

Program Goals

Strengthen existing early care and education businesses, ensuring that children have continuity of care that prepares them for success in school and beyond

Expand the availability of quality child care by creating new and innovative community solutions

Increase the regional and statewide public awareness of early care and education’s role in rural economic development

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