The Minnesota Depart-ment of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) is offering a free manual on how to start a family child care business.

“First Considerations in Starting a Family Child Care Business” provides details on licensing, financing, state laws, child care resources and more. The agency was directed by the Minnesota Legislature last year to develop and publish the manual in response to a shortage of child care services in the state, particularly in Greater Minnesota.

“Lack of quality, affordable child care is a barrier that can prevent parents throughout Minnesota from fully participating in the workforce. And with the looming labor shortage, all workers are needed,” said DEED Commissioner Shawntera Hardy. “This publication offers information that will help Minnesotans decide whether to enter this industry at a time when child care services are badly needed.”

The Mankato-based Center for Rural Policy and Develop-ment last year called the shortage of child care in Minnesota “a quiet crisis.” The group issued a report that said in-home family child care providers are leaving the field at a high rate. The number of licensed in-home family child care providers decreased by 27 percent across the state between 2006 and 2015, the report said.

Earlier this year, DEED awarded grants totaling $500,000 under the Greater Minnesota Childcare Grants Program to eight groups that will work to increase the number of child care providers in their Greater Minnesota communities. DEED will be awarding a second round of grants totaling $500,000 later this year.

“First Considerations in Starting a Family Child Care Business” covers six broad areas that often are barriers to successful entry into the field:

•The child care market and consumer choices

•Licensing requirements

•Startup costs and ongoing expenses

•Business structure

•Working capital and commercial loans

•Tax and regulatory requirements

The manual is available in hard copy, CD or online. Customers can get a free hard copy or CD by calling 651-259-7476. A PDF of “First Considerations in Starting a Family Child Care Business” is available on the DEED website.