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App helps Rocklin mother transform her home into licensed child care facility

Nurture app helped Rocklin mother turn her home into child care facility
Nurture app helped Rocklin mother turn her home into child care facility 02:43

STANISLAUS COUNTY - The Central Valley is considered a "child care desert," but there's now an app helping more in-home providers become licensed. 

Zaira Gonzalez is a stay-at-home mother of three who found her calling.

"I worked in a daycare for one year in El Paso and I discovered and I enjoy to spend time with kids," Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez moved here with her husband, a retired army veteran.

"So I decided to open my own day care so I could take care of my own family," she said. "My son and I have the opportunity to bring money to my house."

So she decided to turn her Rocklin home into a child care facility.

She can care for two infants and four toddlers. The licensing process was challenging at first, but a new app called Nurture helped her.

"Cause they show me step-by-step how to get my license," Gonzalez said.

Nurture is an app-based educational program that certifies parents to provide child care in their own homes.

Jennifer Brooks created it after leaving her job to care for her own kids during the pandemic.

"What the app does, it walks the entrepreneur through the process of getting a state child care license and then empowers her with all the basic skills she needs in order to start and open as successful child care business," Brooks said.

Entrepreneurs learn marketing, budgeting, record keeping and where to get forms.

"It's really convenient because I don't need to go outside," Gonzalez said. "I just open my computer and I can do everything by the phone, by the app."

Brooks says it's needed, especially in Stanislaus County where there is what's called a "child care desert." The number of home child care businesses fell to 281 in 2022 and stats show 36,000 additional child care slots are needed, especially in rural areas with higher Latino populations.

"We are trying to make this opportunity available for marginalized communities in California, so it doesn't cost the entrepreneurs one cent in order to participate and, in fact, there are start-up grants available," Brooks said.

In two years, 300 entrepreneurs have gone through the program. Gonzalez says it's made her business more efficient and affordable and she is able to pass cost savings on to families.

"It's amazing," Gonzalez said. "I feel like I'm helping my community and I'm available to take care of my family, bring income to my house and help my house and husband."

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