The Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) is once again partnering with The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee to provide needed support so Tennessee’s child care agencies can remain open and operational during the COVID-19 pandemic. Approximately $15 million in grant assistance will be available for licensed agencies through the Child Care COVID Relief Grant Program.
These grant awards will be based upon the licensed capacity of the agency and they will provide for eligible expenditures including but not limited to:
• Cleaning and sanitation.
• Increased operating expenses such as salaries, insurance, rent, and personal protective equipment.
“Availability of quality child care is critical to Tennessee communities and continuing economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said TDHS Clarence H. Carter. “These grants will support child care providers with the financial assistance they need for expenses like cleaning, salaries, and PPE so they can continue delivering care that is safe, healthy, and educationally rich.”
The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee will be administering the grants in collaboration with TDHS. Over the next 4-6 weeks, DHS licensed child care agencies will be contacted directly by ChildcareTennessee, an initiative of The Community Foundation, and given instructions for how to apply for funds through a simplified process based upon their licensed capacity.
“There is a light at the end of the tunnel, but we’re not quite there yet,” said Gina Tek, Senior Manager of ChildcareTennessee. “By offering this continued support to child care providers, we are ensuring child care is available as Tennessee’s economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic continues.”
Last year TDHS and The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee worked together to award over $52 million in grants to licensed child care agencies that were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the March 3, 2020 tornado disaster. These grants represent one part of Tennessee’s more than $500 million investment into early childhood education through routine and pandemic child care activities since the pandemic first began in March 2020.
Funding for the Child Care COVID Relief Grant Program is provided through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA). Additional child care funding will be coming to Tennessee through the American Rescue Plan. TDHS is currently developing plans to deploy these funds to support families and licensed child care providers.