Our Story

We seek to find a better way.
Robyn Fern Perlman, Founder & President BLI

Allow me to share my journey through the business of early childcare.  During my eight year tenure on the Board of Directors of the Early Learning Coalition (ELC) of Broward County I discovered that many childcare centers and home based businesses were not making a profit and were mostly run and completely staffed by women who earn not much more than minimum wage for an entire career.  However the extent to which providers were contributing financially to the early childcare and education system was astounding equaling millions of dollars annually by keeping children enrolled with uncollectible fees and undercharging for services due to the inability to establish fees that parents in their district could afford to pay.

Essentially the providers, especially serving low-income and children in underserved communities were “subsidizing the government subsidies. ” They were also the first source of support for those parents who were most recently out of work, just coming off poverty tax rolls, or low wage workers who are not eligible for government assistance but cannot possibly cover the cost of childcare out of their pay checks.

But as a small business owner myself, of equal concern were findings that suggested early childcare centers were not generating enough revenue to allow many owners, even though this is their primary business activity to take a salary.  In addition, they would not be able to contribute towards their social security, unemployment benefits or, provide health insurance benefits for themselves or for their employees.

Whether this was due to poor fiscal management, inability to collect fees, low enrollments, inadequate use of real estate, unfavorable lease negotiations or other business challenges, it is indicative of an industry in which the business of being a small business is almost never discussed.

As part of a larger discussion I asked myself at what point in time did childcare become formalized early learning?  Furthermore, have we sufficiently examined and allocated the additional resources to childcare providers when we are now insisting that they be responsible for a child’s first outcome based educational instruction?

The BLI is a consortium of early learning providers, community partners and individual advocates who have come together to create a new dialog of understanding among the early learning provider community, the corporate sector, public policy makers and institutions of higher learning.  We educate through our Master Class Series, Conference, and Alumni programs; advocate through our partnerships and advise with a fresh innovate look at the situation.

“Doing more of what doesn’t work won’t make it work any better.”
Charles J. Givens, Author of Wealth Without Risk