The Tennessee Department of Human Services Increases Reimbursement Rates to Enhance Child Care Access and Support to Families in Need

Rate increases have been made effective as of October 1, 2023
Monday, October 02, 2023 | 08:57am

NASHVILLE, TN – As part of the commitment to improve affordable child care services for Tennesseans across the state, the Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) is taking significant steps to bolster child care access for families in need. Beginning October 1st, a majority of licensed child care agencies participating in the Child Care Certificate Program will receive increased reimbursement rates. Under the Child Care Certificate program, the state pays a reimbursement rate directly to child care providers on behalf of families who are enrolled and meet the income and work or education requirements of the program.

In collaboration with the University of Tennessee's Boyd Center for Business & Economic Research (UT-CBER), TDHS has conducted a comprehensive Market Rate Survey (MRS) to inform rate adjustments within the Child Care Development Fund budget to adjust funding support for child care providers participating in the state’s Child Care Payment Assistance Programs to at least the 60th percentile of the Market Rate Survey. All adjustments have been made effective as of October 1, 2023, and will lead to increased reimbursement rates for the majority of child care levels, benefiting families across the state.

“At TDHS, we are dedicated to expanding access to affordable, high-quality childcare in Tennessee,” commented Jude White, Assistant Commissioner of Child Care and Community Services. “We believe that child care is an essential part of the foundational support needed among working families to help them achieve economic prosperity and we remain fully committed at the department to bolster our efforts in Tennessee to ensure that all Tennesseans have an opportunity to thrive.”

To further address deficits in capacity, TDHS has also updated a comprehensive mapping of child care deserts in partnership with the University of Tennessee - Social Work Office of Research and Public Service. This mapping has identified areas with a deficit of 250+ child care slots to meet the demand of children under age 6 with all parents in the labor force. These findings will result in adjustments to the counties identified that will receive the 15% Child Care Desert differential.

While also recognizing the higher costs associated with infant and toddler care, TDHS introduced a 15% Infant/Toddler differential, effective October 1, 2023, to incentivize child care agencies offering this essential service and expanding access for families in need.

For more information on the reimbursement rate adjustments and other child care assistance programs, please visit the TDHS website at


The Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) consists of multiple divisions with a unified mission to build strong families by connecting Tennesseans to employment, education, and supportive services. Led by governor-appointed Commissioner Clarence H. Carter, TDHS serves nearly two million Tennesseans to ensure that all state residents have an opportunity to reach their full potential as contributing members of their community. Among the many services and programs provided by TDHS, some of the leading programs include the Child Support Program, Child and Adult Day Services Licensing, Families First (the state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Rehabilitation Services for people with disabilities, and Adult Protective Services, along with many others. TDHS is an organization committed to connecting people to resources that help individuals, families and communities thrive towards long-term economic freedom and prosperity. For more information, please visit: Tennessee Department of Human Services.

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