Growing the Waccamaw Siouan Tribal Daycare

By Abe Katz

The Waccamaw Siouan Tribe (WST) is one of eight state-recognized American Indian tribes in North Carolina. Its modern incorporation dates to 1971, and its citizens live in Columbus and Bladen counties. In 1991, the tribe established the Waccamaw Siouan Tribal Daycare, licensed under the North Carolina Department of Childcare Development and Early Education. The daycare is committed to providing affordable, quality childcare to families in the area, serving children ages 0 – 4 years old.

The facilities are located on the border of Bladen and Columbus counties, with children also attending from Pender and Brunswick counties. The daycare staff of 4 full-time teachers and 3 part-time staff assistants look after 20 – 30 children, a number that varies month to month. The daycare’s revenue comes from private family payments, subsidy payments from local counties’ departments of social services under the state’s Subsidized Child Care program, and scholarship funding for unsubsidized families from the tribe’s budget.

WST Daycare enlisted the assistance of NCGrowth to develop a roadmap for growing in size and profitability. The scope of work included two areas of inquiry: a summary business analysis and the development of a growth strategy. The first goal entailed a rigorous analysis of the daycare’s financials and an assessment of demand for and competition of daycare providers in the area. The growth strategy included creative ways of increasing revenues without burdening families, an evaluation of how the daycare can meet premium daycare licensing criteria, and an assessment of the costs and benefits of expanding into additional building space.

Waccamaw Siouan Tribal Daycare

This NCGrowth project provides WST councilmembers and WST Daycare staff clear, actionable recommendations for meeting their goals. The development of these recommendations came from a detailed breakeven analysis of WST Daycare’s operations; research into North Carolina childcare policy regarding education standards, facility requirements, and licensing criteria; and a market demand assessment. These recommendations can support WST Daycare in growing and meeting the needs of the community, as well as its own financial goals, over the next five years.


Abe Katz is an NCGrowth analyst and dual master’s candidate at Kenan-Flagler Business School at UNC-Chapel Hill and the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University. NCGrowth partnered with UNC Chapel Hill’s American Indian Center on this project.