American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Stabilization Grants

American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Stabilization Grants for Eligible Child Care Providers

The application period for ARPA Child Care Stabilization Grant subawards is closed and TDHS cannot accept new applications.

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) has provided resources to states to distribute stabilization grants to child care providers to ensure that child care is available to support families and businesses as the economy recovers. These grants are now available for eligible child care agencies in Tennessee.

We built a process to minimize the burden on agencies when applying for these subgrants. A formula based on an average cost per child will be used to determine the award amount. The calculations for the base grant award amount is based upon cost of care data collected from a sample of TDHS-licensed child care agencies (family, group, and center) in May/June 2021 completed by our partners at the University of Tennessee and includes operational costs such as rent/mortgage, personnel costs including salaries and benefits, food and educational supplies, training and professional development, general liability insurance, and transportation expenses.  Using this cost estimate model avoids placing the burden on each agency to collect and produce individualized financial materials as part of their application.  

The purpose of these grants is to provide child care agencies relief for operational expenditures for a three month period to allow the opportunity to build revenue for ongoing sustainability. Because of this operations support, we encourage child care agencies to assist struggling families with child care costs to promote continuity of care.

The Application Process and Distribution Structure

1. The grant application process will be supported through the University of Tennessee Social Work Office of Research and Public Service (UT-SWORPS). The total amount each childcare agency may apply for varies depending on their size and licensed capacity. These grants will provide hundreds of dollars monthly for each child the agency can serve to cover a three-month grant period.  Award dollars must be spent on one or more of the below purposes:

  • Personnel costs, benefits, premium pay, recruitment, and retention.
  • Rent or mortgage payments, utilities, facilities maintenance and improvements, or insurance.
  • Personal protective equipment, cleaning and sanitation supplies and services, or training and professional development related to health and safety practices.
  • Purchases of, or updates to, equipment and supplies to respond to COVID-19.
  • Goods and services necessary to maintain or resume child care services.
  • Mental health support for children and employees.

2. There are additional incentives included in the potential grant award amounts.

  • Agencies who are contracted to participate in the Child Care Certificate Program, as of October 1, 2021, are eligible for a 10% bonus calculated on the base award amount.
  • A 10% bonus on the base award amount is also provided for agencies operating in communities scoring .6 or above on the Social Vulnerability Index (SVI). For more information about the SVI, please visit CDC/ATSDR SVI Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) | Place and Health | ATSDR
  • Child Care Agencies including administrators, educators and support staff went above and beyond throughout the pandemic in providing safe and healthy environments for children. You are our heroes, and we want to recognize your hard work and dedication to serving families and children within your communities by providing the opportunity to apply for Staff Retention Awards, a one-time payment of $1000 for part-time staff or $2000 for full-time staff.

3. Over the next 3 months, all TDHS licensed child care agencies, excluding Head Start and VPK Programs, will receive a direct email notification with an individualized link to an application template based upon the agency’s licensed capacity. This will allow for a more efficient process to manage quick and accurate application review and minimize the burden on child care agencies who want to apply. The projected timeframe for notifications to be distributed and applications to be submitted is listed on the chart below.


Date invitation is extended

Closing date

Cohort 1: (Center (100+)

October 5, 2021

October 18, 2021 11:59 pm cst

Cohort 2: Center (76-100)

October 19, 2021

November 1, 2021 11:59 pm cst

Cohort 3: Center (51-75)

November 2, 2021

November 15, 2021 11:59 pm cst

Cohort 4: Center (26-50)

November 16, 2021

December 1, 2021 11:59 pm cst

Cohort 5: Center (up to 25)

November 16, 2021

December 1, 2021 11:59 pm cst

Cohort 6: Family/Group

December 2, 2021

December 15, 2021 11:59 pm cst


Child care agencies that are regulated by the TN Department of Education and are contracted to participate in the Child Care Certificate Program will receive an email notification to apply in early 2022.  We will update the schedule when the date is finalized. 

TDHS is exploring whether TDOE regulated child care agencies (not participating in the certificate program) may be added as another category of provider under the Child Care Stabilization Grant Program.  Updates will be provided as information becomes available.

4. Upon approval of an application, funds will be distributed through Supplier Maintenance within our state accounting system, EDISON. You will need to be enrolled in this system as a vendor. If you are currently participating in the Certificate Program, you already have a vendor account and will not need to register again. If you are not registered as a vendor, you may create an account through this link.

5. You will need to maintain documentation of your operational expenses that were paid through the ARPA stabilization grant award.  You will receive more information about this process when grants funds are awarded.

6. As a reminder, you will be notified directly through email to begin the application process. We have a sample grant application for you to review below. Applications are for demonstration purposes only.  

Technical assistance will be available to you should you have any questions. If you have any questions, please contact UT SWORPS at or call the tollfree number at 1-888-883-5514.

An FAQ document has been created to address questions related to the process and may be found at this link:

American Rescue Plan Act Stabilization Subgrants for Child Care Providers Application ENG SPANISH SOMALI ARABIC (All applications are for demonstration purposes only)