Child Care Certificate Program
The Child Care Certificate Program is the Tennessee’s child care assistance program for children of low income participating in the Families First program. Funding for the Child Care Certificate Program is provided by the federal Families First/TANF block grant and the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG). This is often referred to as the subsidized child care program. Families must be determined eligible by DHS staff before participating in the program.
Both licensed (regulated) and unlicensed (unregulated) providers can participate in this program and receive reimbursement from DHS for caring for qualified children.
DHS establishes its state rates using data gathered in a market rate survey of all regulated providers in Tennessee. While this market rate survey is conducted every year, the rates are only changed when funding permits.
The rates are set by three age groups: infants, preschool and school age. The rates are also set by two groups of counties in their standing for average population and incomes over the past three years. Rates for infants and preschool age children are also set by amount of time in care: 1-19 hours per week part-time and 20 or more hours per week for full-time care.
Providers enrolled in the certificate payment program who also earn a 1, 2 or 3 Star Quality rating on their license and participate in that quality care program receive a bonus from the certificate program. Providers who wish to enroll in the certificate program should contact their local Department of Human Services office.