Success Story - Mom Builds New Child Care Business
Success Story - Mom Builds Child Care Business

Single Mom Uses Financial Education & Savings Program to Build New Child Care Business

Christina FosterAs a single mom of three kids working as a teacher in a preschool center, Christina Foster had barely enough money to pay the bills … but could never get ahead.  She also struggled to spend enough time with her children, who were often in school and before- and after-school care up to 12 hours a day.

She learned about the Family Asset Building program at The Family Conservancy, and saw the opportunity to fulfill her dream of owning a child care business, get some breathing room in her finances and spend more time with her children.

“What I ultimately feel called to do is take care of infants and toddlers,” said Foster. And her neighborhood in Raytown, Mo., did not have many child care options for children birth to age three.  “I have always loved working with infants and young toddlers. This has been the focus of my employment since college and has been extremely fulfilling work.”

Foster said the Family Asset Building program was “a godsend.” Through the program, she completed 10 financial education classes as well as taking microenterprise training on how to run a small business — with an emphasis on developing a child care business. She also received matched savings: for every $1 she saved for her business, The Family Conservancy matched it with $2. In six short months, she saved $2,000 and received $4,000 in matching funds for her new business.

In addition to the education and matching funds, The Family Conservancy also provided consultation and case management to help participants achieve their goals. Nora Reyna-Brown, MSW, the Financial Security Program Manager, was a partner throughout this process. Brown met regularly with her to help with budgets, provide feedback on her business plan and family handbook, and make suggestions on how the funds could be used to benefit her business, such as buying playground equipment.

Child Care Art RoomFoster used the money to make some renovations in her basement to child proof the space and bring it up to code. She also fenced her back yard, purchased cribs, cots, gates, refrigerators and warmers for bottles and other supplies … and, yes, she is currently looking for some playground equipment.

Foster started the program in January, and completed it in June. She’s spent the summer getting her child care ready for business, called Guiding Steps, and hosted an open house on Sept. 7.

“She is a self-driven person and finished the program in 6 months … when the average person takes almost 2 years,” said Nora Reyna-Brown, MSW, the Financial Security Program Manager.  “She was successful because she had a vision, she saw the possibilities of the program and she believed in herself.”

Through her business plan and projections, Foster estimates that she her income will go up 25-30 percent once she is at full capacity. “And I wouldn’t have been able to do it without this program and grant money,” she said.

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