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Child Care Loan Program

two toddler playing letter cubes


The Mower County Child Care Loan Program provides an incentive to newly licensed child care providers to provide services in Mower County.

The program provides a forgivable loan towards actual expenses relating to the cost of opening a child care business in the Mower County, up to $2,000 per licensed child care provider. Qualifying expenses must be approved by the Mower County Child Care Licensor and the Austin Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) Director. Approved requests will be funded on a first-come/first-served basis until all funds are expended.


  1. Only new child care providers located within the Mower County are eligible for the loan program.
  2. New providers must be licensed for infants and actively seek to fill that age slot.
  3. New providers must have two hours of consultation with First Children’s Finance related to best business practices.
  4. Within first year the provider needs to have a signed Parent Aware participation agreement signifying intent to become a Parent Aware rated provider.
  5. All items for which the child care provider is requesting funds must be approved by the Mower County Licensor and the Austin HRA Director.
  6. Items purchased prior to approval will typically not be eligible for funding unless the HRA finds significant underlying purposes for work beginning prior to project approval (i.e. inability of quorum for a meeting, and the like).
  7. Funds may be requested for the following items (up to):
    • Licensing fee ($150)
    • Background study fee ($50 per person)
    • Pre Licensing training ($175/per person)
    • Ongoing training ($250/per person)
    • Fire Marshal visit, if needed ($50)
    • Smoke Detectors ($25/each)
    • Carbon monoxide detector ($50)
    • Fire extinguishers ($35)
    • Outlet plugs ($4)
    • Stationary baby gate ($60)
    • First aid kits ($15)
    • Utensils/plates/cups ($30)
    • Pack n Play ($120)
    • Pack n Play sheet ($10)
    • Cots ($120)
    • High chair/booster seat ($40)
    • Fluid Cleanup kit ($15)
    • Potty seat/chair ($20)
    • Monitor ($40)
    • Toys for each age group ($200 per age group)
    • Craft supplies ($200)
    • Strollers ($100)
    • Structural Improvements
  8. Other uses may also be eligible if prior approval is obtained by the Mower County Licensor and the Austin HRA.

Project Guidelines

Program oversight and authority for loan approval is delegated to the City of Austin HRA. The HRA shall review loan applications and m ay approve loan issuance after considering the following guidelines:

  1. Completed applications will be reviewed on a first come, first served basis.
  2. The proposed expense receipts must be submitted within (6) months of HRA approval date. If the receipts are not submitted within six months, the Applicant may resubmit a child care loan application for reconsideration.

Loan Disbursement

Following loan approval the Austin HRA shall execute a promissory note. Awarded loan funds will be dispersed to the child care provider upon submittal of receipts or invoices for supplies purchased. Any loan funds outside of Austin(Mower County Area) will be paid through SEMCAC.

Repayment of Loan

The amount of the loan (without interest) will be due and payable to the Austin HRA one (1) year following the distribution of loan funds. If, however, the child care business to which the loan was granted remains in business in one (1) year following the distribution of loan funds, the loan shall be forgiven by the Austin HRA.