Family Connections, the child care resource and referral agency of Benton, Linn and Lincoln counties, is spearheading a new initiative to increase the capacity of licensed child care by expanding opportunities to start a business out of people’s homes.

The new initiative is called Growing Care.

“Our community desperately needs more child care businesses and this initiative is supporting motivated entrepreneurs to start their own small businesses,” said Bryan Steinhauser, project manager of Growing Care. “Family Connections is going to set these new child care businesses up for success with everything they need to create a high-quality, profitable child care program.”

The region has seen a drastic shortage of regulated child care for children under the age of 6 in Linn, Benton and Lincoln counties. According to data collected by Oregon Cascades West Council of Governments, over 4,500 more child care slots are needed to fully meet the needs of those three counties.

Growing Care wants to recruit people with suitable residences, who love children and want to work from home. They are especially looking at existing unregulated and licensed-exempt child care providers, new parents planning a leave of absence from their professional careers to raise their own children and retirees wanting to earn extra income.

“With Growing Care, getting licensed is easier than ever before,” said Lynnette Wynkoop, Family Connections director. “We’ll be there to walk them through the process, provide business training and access to grants of up to $15,000 to cover startup costs. We want our potential child care providers to know they’re not alone out there and we’re doing everything we can to remove barriers so they can create a new, thriving, successful business, free of debt.”

For more information, contact Family Connections at 541-917-4899 or