Freeborn County Child Care Forgivable Loan Program expands with additional funding

Published 1:13 pm Thursday, April 25, 2024

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The Freeborn County Childcare Forgivable Loan Program, designed to encourage and support newly licensed child care providers in Freeborn County, has announced an expansion following the successful launch of its initial phase. With an additional $10,000 allocated by Albert Lea Economic Development Agency, the program aims to further bolster the availability and quality of childcare services in the region, according to a news release.

Launched with an initial allocation from a grant received from Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, the program has already provided grants to three new child care providers, facilitating the establishment of essential child care services within the community. With $3,000 still available from the original fund and the infusion of the board-approved $10,000, the program stands ready to continue its mission of supporting new child care businesses in Freeborn County.

“The response to the Forgivable Loan Program has been overwhelmingly positive, and we are delighted to witness its immediate impact on our community,” said Noelle Viktora, assistant executive director of Albert Lea Economic Development Agency. “By expanding the program with an additional $10,000, we are reinforcing our commitment to addressing the critical need for accessible and high-quality childcare services in our county.”

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The program, administered by the Albert Lea Economic Development Agency (ALEDA), provides forgivable loans to newly licensed child care providers to cover actual expenses associated with opening a child care business in Freeborn County, with each provider eligible for up to $2,000 in assistance.

To qualify for the program, new child care providers must meet specific eligibility criteria, including being located within Freeborn County, becoming a licensed child care provider, and actively seeking to fill infant age spots. Additionally, providers must undergo a one-hour consultation with First Children’s Finance on best business practices and work towards obtaining a Parent Aware rating, ensuring the provision of quality child care services.

“We are committed to supporting the growth and sustainability of family child care providers in Freeborn County,” Viktora said. “By providing financial assistance and guidance through partnerships with local organizations, we aim to create an environment where child care businesses thrive, ultimately benefiting families and the community as a whole.”

The Freeborn County Child Care Forgivable Loan Program operates on a first-come, first-served basis until all funds are expended. All expenses for which funding is requested must be approved by the Freeborn County licensor and the ALEDA assistant director to ensure compliance with program guidelines.

For more information about the Freeborn County Childcare Forgivable Loan Program and how to apply, please visit or contact Noelle Viktora at