Tennessee Taking Steps To Improve Child Care Access

Monday, March 11, 2019
The Tennessee Department of Human Services announced what officials called a major step forward in helping families pay for the cost of child care and incentivizing more providers across the state to participate in the child care subsidy program.  

Beginning in April, TDHS will raise the weekly reimbursement rates for all providers who take part in the state’s Child Care Certificate Program.  This rate increase is the first for child care providers since 2008.

Through the Smart Steps Program, TDHS provides child care financial assistance to families who are working or pursuing post-secondary education and who meet certain income eligibility requirements.
The Child Care Certificate Program also serves teen parents enrolled in high school, through the Teen Parent Assistance for Child Care Program. Additional categories of child care payment assistance are available to families who take part in the state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program known as Families First, parents transitioning off Families First, and children in foster care. 

Under this reimbursement rate change providers will receive:
35 percent increase in weekly reimbursement rates for infant and toddler care.
20 percent increase in weekly reimbursement rates for pre-school and school age care.

For example, these changes would mean an extra $46 a week for every infant that’s served by our Smart Steps program at child care agencies in Nashville and another $20 a week for each pre-school child, officials said.

“Quality child care is essential to the development of children and the thriving Tennessee we are trying to build,” said TDHS Commissioner Danielle W. Barnes. “These rate increases are a specific investment in Tennessee’s community of child care providers and will promote access to early childhood environments that are safe, healthy and educationally rich.”

Tennessee has approximately 4,200 regulated child care agencies, who would be eligible to participate in the Child Care Certificate Program.  Approximately 1,500 providers are currently participating. By raising the reimbursement rates, TDHS hopes that more providers will join the program, resulting in more choices for families seeking quality child care.  

In July 2018, TDHS released new child care licensing rules that support providers in raising quality, health, and safety expectations for their services.  By raising the reimbursement rates, TDHS is supporting providers in reaching those higher expectations of quality.   Providers who wish to join the Certificate Program should contact the state office nearest them.https://www.tn.gov/content/tn/humanservices/for-families/child-care-services/child-care-assistance-office-locator.html

Parents seeking information about enrolling in the Child Care Certificate Program should visit the TDHS website.

To support parents, TDHS also provides tips for choosing child care and an interactive database where parents can search for providers in their area. https://www.tn.gov/humanservices/for-families/child-care-services/find-child-care.html

Erlanger Donates AED To Sequatchie County Schools

Senate Health Committee Leaders Release Bipartisan Discussion Draft Legislation To Reduce Health Care Costs

3 Erlanger Express Cares Open Memorial Day Weekend


Officials with Erlanger Health System donated an automated external defibrillator (AED) to Sequatchie County Schools on May 22. “We are beyond proud to offer this device to Sequatchie County ... (click for more)

Senate health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.) Thursday released the Lower Health Care Costs Act of 2019—bipartisan discussion draft legislation to ... (click for more)

Erlanger officials announced today that three new Erlanger Express Care locations in Soddy-Daisy, East Brainerd and downtown Chattanooga will be opening Memorial Day Weekend. According to Erlanger ... (click for more)


Living Well

Erlanger Donates AED To Sequatchie County Schools

Officials with Erlanger Health System donated an automated external defibrillator (AED) to Sequatchie County Schools on May 22. “We are beyond proud to offer this device to Sequatchie County Schools,” said vice president and CEO of Erlanger Bledsoe Hospital and Sequatchie Valley ED Stephanie Boynton. “Quick use of an AED in a heart-related incident can greatly affect the outcome ... (click for more)

Senate Health Committee Leaders Release Bipartisan Discussion Draft Legislation To Reduce Health Care Costs

Senate health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.) Thursday released the Lower Health Care Costs Act of 2019—bipartisan discussion draft legislation to reduce health care costs. “There's one issue I hear a lot about from Tennesseans, and it is, ‘What are you going to do about the health care costs I pay for out of my own pocket?’ Well, ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Person Pulled From Burning Home On Airport Road Saturday Morning

A person was pulled from a burning home on Airport Road on Saturday morning. Chattanooga firefighters were dispatched to 900 Airport Road Lot #92 on a residential structure fire with entrapment at approximately 9 a.m. Incident Commander Lieutenant Jack Babb reported fire and smoke showing upon arrival. Two residents had exited the structure prior to firefighters arrival, but ... (click for more)

Dallas Bay Volunteer Fire Department Saves Boat From Fire Saturday Afternoon

The Dallas Bay Volunteer Fire Department saved a million-dollar boat Saturday afternoon. A boat owner called 911 reporting a boat fire located at the Chattanooga Yacht Club at 9400 North Hickory Valley Road. The Dallas Bay VFD responded by boat and arrived on the scene reporting smoke and flames in the engine area. Firefighters quickly extinguished the fire due to 900 gallons ... (click for more)

Opinion

It Is Outrageous That County School Administration Used Our Tax Dollars For Political Lobbying - And Response

Dear Dr. Johnson, The campaign central at HCDE headquarters needs a Tennessee Little Hatch Act study time and education. The heart of the issue is that HCDE utilized our tax dollars to lobby against vouchers with employee time, equipment, and lobby payments. Here is my point, I supported ESA vouchers for Hamilton County, and so did a lot of families that desired parental ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Why We Must Fight

On this Memorial Day when we remember our heroes, I believe of all the glorious movies the genius duo of Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks have given this world, the 10-part miniseries. “A Band of Brothers,” is the crown jewel. To me it is perhaps mankind’s greatest illustration ever of how insanely horrible war most truly is. Today the miniseries is recognized as the most popular ... (click for more)