The Business of Child Care in Mississippi: Helping Providers Become More Efficient Through Improved Business Practices

Client: Mississippi Center for Justice
Faculty: John Brothers, Monte Kurs
Team: Toyin Alli, James Geraghty, Michael LoBiondo, Adam Morris, Tracy Steele
Year: 2010
There are approximately 1,800 licensed child care providers in Mississippi. While some of these providers serve more affluent clients and/or receive federal funding from the Head Start and Early Head Start programs, many low income providers struggle to breakeven and face constant financial hardship. The Mississippi Center for Justice, a public interest law firm, tasked the Capstone team with exploring how best to help these providers reduce financial stress and improve their operations in the current Mississippi child care environment. Over the course of the project, the team identified mechanisms for providers to operate more efficiently and examined the advantages of encouraging collaboration among groups of providers, as well as potential partnerships with participating Head Start centers. The team found that basic financial management skills, a sound understanding of regulations and making the administrative paperwork manageable are among the providers' greatest needs. The team developed a handbook for providers containing financial management and assessment tools, information on additional revenue sources and a set of best practices.