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Your Guide to Daycare Grants

Your Guide to Daycare Grants

daycare grants

For many childcare businesses and preschools struggling financially, daycare grants can be welcome sources of supplemental funding. While the application process for grants can be time-consuming, the financial cushion from extra funding makes it well worth the effort. With patience and persistence (and a bit of paperwork), you can access funding from federal, state, local, and corporate sources to help bolster your center’s finances.

This guide will cover how to find and apply for government grants for your childcare center.

What’s included:

  • Are loans or grants better for your childcare business
  • How to find funding for your childcare program
  • Tips for applying for a daycare grant

Are loans or grants better for your childcare business

In the simplest terms, loans require repayment and grants don’t. Both sources of funding can provide valuable financial relief for your business, whether you’re suffering a financial loss, expanding your business, or trying to keep the lights on.

Loans are administered by banks, credit unions, or online lenders, and they’re repaid with interest over a certain period. 

Grants are given by government organizations, foundations, or corporations. While they don’t need to be repaid, there are usually stricter criteria for who can receive funding and how it can be spent. Grants are often only available for a certain period, and it can take longer to be approved and receive funding than it would with a loan.

How to find funding for your childcare program

Whether you’re looking to start a childcare program or expand an existing one, federal and state governments offer daycare grants for providers and families. Each state has a lead childcare agency responsible for subsidizing childcare programs. These agencies also provide information on available funds and how to apply. 

Locate the lead agency in your state or use the list below:

Alabama: Child Care Services Division (Alabama Department of Human Resources)

Alaska: Child Care Program Office (Alaska Department of Health and Social Services)

Arizona: Child Care Administration (Arizona Department of Economy Security)

Arkansas: Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education (Arkansas Department of Human Services)

California: Early Education and Support Division (California Department of Education)

Colorado: Division of Early Care and Learning / Office of Early Childhood (Colorado Department of Human Services)

Connecticut: Division of Early Care and Education (Connecticut Office of Early Childhood)

Delaware: Division of Social Services (Delaware Department of Health and Social Services)

District of Columbia: Division of Early Learning (D.C. Office of the State Superintendent of Education)

Florida: Office of Early Learning (Florida Department of Education)

Georgia: Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning

Hawaii: Benefit, Employment, and Support Services Division (Hawaii Department of Human Services)

Idaho: Idaho Department of Health and Welfare

Illinois: Office of Early Childhood / Division of Family and Community Services (Illinois Department of Human Services)

Indiana: Bureau of Child Care / Division of Family Resources (Indiana Family and Social Services Administration)

Iowa: Division of Adult, Children and Family Services (Iowa Department of Human Services)

Kansas: Economic and Employment Services (Kansas Department for Children and Families)

Kentucky: Division of Child Care / Department for Community-Based Services (Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services)

Louisiana: Office of Early Childhood Operations (Louisiana Department of Education)

Maine: Office of Child and Family Services (Maine Department of Health and Human Services)

Maryland: Division of Early Childhood Development (Maryland State Department of Education)

Massachusetts: Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care

Michigan: Child Development and Care Program / Office of Great Start (Michigan Department of Education)

Minnesota: Child Care Services Division (Minnesota Department of Human Services)

Mississippi: Division of Early Childhood Care and Development (Mississippi Department of Human Services)

Missouri: Office of Childhood (Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education)

Montana: Early Childhood Services Bureau (Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services)

Nebraska: Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services

Nevada: Child Care and Development Program / Division of Welfare and Supportive Services (Nevada Department of Health and Human Services)

New Hampshire: Bureau of Child Development and Head Start Collaboration / Division of Economic and Housing Stability (New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services)

New Jersey: Division of Family Development (New Jersey Department of Human Services)

New Mexico: New Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care Department

New York: Division of Child Care Services (New York State Office of Children and Family Services)

North Carolina: Division of Child Development and Early Education (North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services)

North Dakota: North Dakota Department of Human Services

Ohio: Ohio Department of Job and Family Services

Oklahoma: Oklahoma Department of Human Services

Oregon: Office of Child Care / Early Learning Division (Oregon Department of Education)

Pennsylvania: Office of Child Development and Early Learning (Pennsylvania Department of Human Services)

Rhode Island: Family and Children’s Services (Rhode Island Department of Human Services)

South Carolina: Division of Early Care and Education (South Carolina Department of Social Services)

South Dakota: Division of Child Care Services (South Dakota Department of Social Services)

Tennessee: Child Care and Community Services (Tennessee Department of Human Services)

Texas: Department of Child Care and Early Learning (Texas Workforce Commission)

Utah: Office of Child Care (Utah Department of Workforce Services)

Vermont: Child Development Division / Department for Children and Families (Vermont Agency of Human Services)

Virginia: Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Development (Virginia Department of Social Services)

Washington: Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families

West Virginia: Division of Early Care and Education / Bureau for Children and Families (West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources)

Wisconsin: Division of Early Care and Education (Wisconsin Department of Children and Families)

Wyoming: Wyoming Department of Family Services

There are also many local Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agencies that offer information about childcare resources in the community as well as financial assistance, funding opportunities, and other business support to childcare providers. Visit the CCR&R search page to find the agency that serves your local area.

Local Head Start programs often collaborate with childcare centers to provide services and also offer various grants and funding opportunities. Contact the Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center for more information.

Tips for applying for a daycare grant

Applying for a daycare grant can be more meticulous than applying for a loan. More guidelines often need to be met to receive additional funding. 

When applying, you should:

  • Do your research.
  • Speak to your audience.
  • Stick to the point.
  • Follow guidelines.
  • Reapply.

Do your research.

Daycare grant opportunities will rarely fall into your lap. It’s your responsibility to go looking for them. To better your chances, find funders who align with your daycare’s mission and interests. This will require looking into their history, their annual reports, and recent grant information.

Speak to your audience.

Be mindful that everyone you send a grant proposal to might not know the ins and outs of a daycare program. Always speak to your audience. Don’t use niche terms or acronyms. Ensure that they can understand your proposal and relate to the impact of your program.

Stick to the point.

Grant funders don’t want to spend unnecessary time reading your proposal in an attempt to figure out your reason for applying. Be concise. Describe your program’s mission, goals, and reasons for funding in a short, detailed manner.

Follow guidelines.

Your daycare grant application should stand out within the guidelines that are set by the funder. Make sure you’re in the right geographic area. Double-check that your business has the proper registrations and licensing. Confirm any funding inclusions. As for the most important guideline, make sure you stick to the dates and deadlines set for the proposal and additional paperwork.

Reapply.

When applying for grants, don’t be discouraged if you get denied. Your next step is to try again. Find out what your application is missing and figure out how you can improve it. This will set you up to create a better proposal each time you apply.

If at first you don’t succeed, try again

Childcare grants are an excellent source of funding for daycare programs. Unlike loans, this capital doesn’t require repayment; however, there could be stricter terms for which it can be used. With both federal and state options for government grants for child care, there are many funding opportunities. Just remember to do your research, follow the guidelines, and be persistent.

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