Child Care Assistance Program

We are pleased to announce that the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (TN DCS) offers childcare assistance for families who adopt children from DCS foster care!  We have partnered with the Department of Human Services (DHS) to offer the Childcare Certificate Program to families who are eligible.  Children must meet the eligibility requirements and the childcare provider must accept the DHS voucher to qualify for this assistance.

What are the eligibility requirements?

  1. The child must be adopted from DCS foster care in Tennessee in his/her most recent adoption and a valid adoption assistance agreement in effect.
  2. The child must be 0-12 years old.

How do I apply? 

  1. To apply for this benefit, you must complete this childcare assistance referral along with the required verification and return it to the Department via, a) email, or b) regular mail, or c) fax.  Email is the preferred method of submission.  Using email will allow your request to be processed faster and will enable the Department to provide confirmation that we have received your referral. 
    1. Email:
    2. Mailing Address: DCS, Adoption Childcare Assistance, 315 Deaderick Street, 9th Floor, Nashville, TN 37243
    3. Fax: 615-532-5723 Attn: Adoption Childcare Assistance
  2. When a family is applying for childcare assistance for multiple children, a single referral can be submitted for all children so long as the same Childcare Provider is being requested for all children.  However, a separate referral must be submitted if a different Childcare Provider is needed for children in the same home.

Do I need to submit verification along with my application?

Yes.  Verification is needed to determine eligibility when you submit your application for childcare assistance.  Information regarding required verification can be found on page 2 of the enclosed childcare assistance application.

How long can I receive Child Care Assistance?

Each voucher is approved for a period of 24-months so long as the child will not turn 13 years old during the 24-month approval period.  At the end of the 24-months, a new application can be submitted to recertify for childcare assistance.

Will I receive notice when it’s time to recertify for Child Care Assistance?

You will receive notification prior to the end of your approval period, informing you that a new application is needed to continue services. Keep in mind that it may take several weeks to process your application, so it’s vitally important that you send in your new application timely to allow time for processing and prevent your assistance from being delayed or terminated.  This process can continue until the child’s thirteenth birthday.

How can I find out which child care providers accept the DHS voucher?

DHS maintains resources on their webpage to help customers locate childcare.  Some of these tools will search for any childcare in the area you choose, so be sure to filter for providers that accept childcare assistance.  These resources can be found here:

Will the voucher cover the entire cost of childcare?

It depends on the cost of your childcare.  In many cases, the voucher does not cover the entire cost of childcare.  The payment of any cost beyond the voucher amount is the responsibility of the parent.

How can I find out exactly how much the voucher will cover?

The easiest way to find out the amount covered by the voucher is to ask your childcare provider.  Childcare providers who participate in the Childcare Assistance Program are aware of the amount they receive from the voucher.  The voucher amount is determined by several variables including location, saturation of childcare providers in the area, population of the area, the star rating of the childcare, hours of operation, the age of the child, and if the provider is willing to accept children with disabilities.  DHS has a matrix on their webpage that outlines the voucher amount information, which can be found here:

What if my current childcare provider does not participate in the Childcare Assistance Program?

We are only able to process applications for childcare providers who participate in the Childcare Assistance Program through DHS. 

What if we need to make any changes or have questions about childcare assistance?

Contact the Childcare Assistance Program using the contact information below.

  • Email:
  • Mailing Address: DCS, Adoption Childcare Assistance, 315 Deaderick Street, 9th Floor, Nashville, TN 37243
  • Fax: 615-532-5723 Attn: Adoption Childcare Assistance