There are a few different child care assistance programs in Tennessee, and each has a different focus. In general the state will help low income families, the working poor, and other qualified parents pay a portion of their overall child care costs.
The financial assistance program is administered by the Tennessee Department of Human Services. This government organization provides help for paying child care bills and also in selecting a provider. The state will usually only pay for a portion of your costs and a co-payment is required by the beneficiary. However the exact terms will vary based on the specifics of the assistance program. Also, most of the funding comes from the federal government and those allotments can change from year to year. Many residents will be placed onto a waiting list. To apply for the service or to get more information, call your local county Department of Human Services center. Or you can dial 1-866-311-4287.
Aid is for those who are working, in school, or job training. If you are found to be qualified, any version of the child care resources can be used by the low income parents. So they can use a regulated and/or unregulated service. Whatever you decide, the chosen provider must be enrolled with the state of Tennessee in the payment program. Some of the components include the following.
Transitional Child Care Assistance is a possibility for working poor parents that are currently on the Families First program whose case is closed. Financial assistance can be provided for up to 18 months as part of this component. This is offered in an effort to help them get off the public assistance program. As with most of these options, there is a work activity requirement for each parent enrolled in the government funded program. In addition, parents will be required to make a co-pay fee based on a sliding income scale that factors in their income and family size.
The Tennessee Families First Child Care Assistance component is for parents that need affordable child care to complete the work activities that are required as part of their personal responsibility goal plan. These individuals can receive financial assistance to pay for the high, and escalating, costs of child care. Usually the Families First program will not require a parent co-pay in order to enroll. Reimbursement and payment rates will be determined by the Department of Human Services.
At Risk Child Only is for children that are residing and being cared for by someone other than their parent(s). So maybe an aunt, uncle, or grandparent is assisting and raising the child. Those caretakers will be required to pay a portion of their costs that will be based on a percentage of their income.
Another component is known as Teen Child Care Assistance. This state of Tennessee program is for qualified middle school or high school students that are mothers. In order to receive financial aid and government subsidies from the state for their child care, these young mothers must stay in school. Parents need to contribute to their bills. Call 1-866-827-3372.
Tennessee's CCR&R/Child Care Resource & Referral Network provides information on quality providers that operate in Tennessee. This will help ensure you and your child receive the best possible child care. Receive a free list of day care providers in your town or county that are tailored to meet your specific needs. Staff from the CCR&R network are also more than qualified to discuss with you the areas of provider evaluation and the strengths of each company.
What happens is that every licensed day or child care provider in Tennessee is visited throughout the year, often multiple times. This visit occurs by trained staff from the Department of Human Services. The members will offer an evaluation, assessment and ensure that all rules and regulations are being followed and that the company is satisfying the minimum requirements set forth by the government. These childhood professionals will also work closely with providers to improve their operation if need be.
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