The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee and the Tennessee Department of Human Services have extended their partnership supporting licensed child care providers across the state.
ChildcareTennessee, an initiative of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, administers several grants, provides free administrative resources on ChildcareTennessee.com, and offers discounts on products and services child care programs use every day.
“I have never had the type of support ChildcareTennessee offers,” said Sandy Greene, owner of The Greene House Children’s Center in Dunlap, Tennessee. “The resources are amazing, and the discounts are really helpful.”
Support and Enhancement, Supplemental, Establishment and Expansion Grants are all still available to licensed child care programs, along with two new additional Supplemental Grants.
In the past year, 60 new licensed child care programs have been established and 18 programs expanded with the assistance of Establishment and Expansion grants — accounting for 3,544 new child care slots across the state.
The Establishment and Expansion grants allow eligible child care providers to apply for up to $1,000 per licensed child care slot of new capacity, up to a maximum of $100,000 per program. ChildcareTennessee will continue to work with the Department of Human Services’ Pre-Licensure and Licensing teams in their collective effort to create more licensed child care capacity through these grants.
“With the initial success of the Establishment and Expansion Grants, our team is excited to see what more will be accomplished in the coming year,” said Anne Clem, ChildcareTennessee grants manager.
A teacher feeds an infant at Turtle Pond Preschool in Huntsville, Tennessee. Turtle Pond Preschool received Establishment Grant funds, becoming the only licensed child care center in Scott County.
New Supplemental Grants will support directors pursuing the Tennessee Early Childhood Program Administrator Credential provided through the Tennessee Early Childhood Training Alliance, as well as educators who complete preschool and pre-K specialization training with the Tennessee Child Care Resource & Referral Network.
“The Tennessee Early Childhood Program Administrator Credential (TECPAC) helps directors examine their programs, set goals, and increase program quality,” said Rhonda Laird, TECPAC program manager.
“The Supplemental Grant helps programs invest in materials that ease the transformation to higher quality,” Laird continued. “Investing in our child care program administrators means higher quality care for children and families across Tennessee.”
Supplemental Grants already are making an impact across the state.
A total of $54,000 has been distributed to 48 programs in the past six months, with grants used for infant/toddler specialization education and program accreditation.
Licensed child care programs can continue to apply for playground equipment, classroom supplies and furniture, curriculum and other items and services associated with running their programs through Support and Enhancement Grants.
Programs that participate in the Child Care Certificate Program or are located in an economically distressed county are eligible for an extra $1,000. Economically distressed counties as identified by the state for this current grant cycle are Lake, Hardeman, Perry, Clay, Grundy, Bledsoe, Morgan, Scott, Hancock and Cocke.
“Since 1994, The Foundation has worked diligently with organizations to create and expand child care access in Tennessee,” said Ellen Lehman, president of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. “These grants are an important investment in child care providers and Tennessee’s children and have been needed in all the intervening years.”
The ChildcareTennessee/TDHS partnership also provides other services. An administrative website, ChildcareTennessee.com, features more than 2,600 resources to assist child care directors and owners with administrative tasks, from human resources to staying compliant with federal and state regulations. These resources alleviate some of the administrative load so directors can focus on what matters most — more than 171,000 of Tennessee’s children.
Since October 2019, thanks to the partnership with TDHS, ChildcareTennessee has distributed nearly $79 million in Support and Enhancement, Supplemental, Establishment, Expansion and Disaster and Emergency Grants to licensed child care programs across the state.
Applications for all of these grants are open through September 30, 2023. Providers can apply at ChildcareTennessee.com.