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Making The Food Program Work For You

The Child Care Food Program (CCFP) provides an opportunity to improve your bottom line. Only 46% of center based programs and 62% of family daycare homes participate. Even those that do participate often don't receive all of the funding available under CCFP.

If you are a center based program, in order to be eligible for the program you must be either non-profit or, if youy are a for-profit center, have at least 25% of your enrollment consist of low-income children who meet specific criteria. Those criteria and all the information needed to participate can be foundont the CCFP website at http://www.doh.state.fl.us/ccfp/

If you are a family day care home, you must operate under the auspices of a sponsoring organization contracting with the Department of Health. As a family day care home you are not reguired to have a fixed percentage of your children meet the income guidelines, but you receive a lower reimbursement.

It is a fair estimate that you are spending 25% of your gross income on food and food service supplies. This makes food service your second highest expenditure. Once you've qualified for participation in the Child Care Food Program, you are able to claim reimbursement for as much as $5.14 per child per day. The amount you will be reimbursed varies based on the number of meal you serve and whether you are a center based program or a family day care home. Rehardless of th amount you are reimbursed, it can make a substantial impact on your bottom line.

Increasing Profits

Dry cleaning drop-off and pick-up? Take home dinners? After hour dance and karate classes? These are some of the ways child care centers around the country have found to boost their profits.

Whether by concentrating on what services their clients want and like, partnering with other local businesses or thinking "outside the box", daycare centers around the country are finding many clever ways to add to the bottom line.

Consider how Kids R Kids, with locations in 13 states, has added late night hours for babysitting, dance and foreign language classes and professional photography sessions.

In Cincinnati, Little Leprechaun Academy has hired a professional chef who prepares dinners that families can order and take home when they pick up their children.

Several other facilities are bringing in a hairstylist on a monthly basis, and making payments easy for parents by accepting Paypal or other electronic payments so they don't have to write a check.

Some centers have installed video viewing systems so parents can watch their child's music, dance or karate lessons online or by smartphone.

Money Saving Tip #1 - Credit Cards

Many schools accept credit cards today even though merchant fees sure put a dent in your income.

And while you have likely agreed with the credit card company not to charge your clients a fee for processing their credit card, if you look at the fine print you are permitted to offer a cash discount.

The money saving tip? Raise your rates to cover the merchant fee cost and then offer a cash discount that will bring your rate to today's level.

This move allows you to move the entire cost of merchant fees off your expense list.

9 Traits of Successful Child Care Businesses

The national Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), along with the High Scope Educational Research Foundation, created the program Recognition Project to identify child care programs offering high quality services, above average staff compensation and affordable fees for families.

One hundred and fur programs either applied or were nominated for consideration. Ten finalists were selected by means of reviews and onsite assessments.

While the ten finalists were a diverse group, they all shared the following common characteristics:

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