Early Matters Chattanooga will begin accepting applications for the second round of child care program quality improvement grants on Dec. 2.
One of the core tenets of Hamilton County’s early childhood coalition is that positive experiences for young children – especially within high-quality early childhood programming – are essential for child health, learning, and overall well-being, said officials.
Rather than focus solely on creating new child care programs for children, the Quality Matters Fund provides existing early learning programs with one-time capital investments needed to expand access to more families across Chattanooga-Hamilton County, as well as increase the rating of lower quality programs.
This second round of funding allows applicants to apply for funds to make capital improvements in response to required COVID-19 safety protocols, in order to serve more vulnerable families
“When parents and guardians send their children to an early learning program, they want to know they’re not only getting a strong foundation in learning, but also that the program is safe and has simple features such as child-sized toilets, sinks, and other fixtures to help build competence, independence, and good hygiene practices,” said Angela Hayes, Office of Early Learning deputy administrator. “By providing capital investment grants to existing child care programs, we are giving small programs the leg up they need to continue providing excellent care to our youngest residents.”
Two child care programs were awarded a total of $96,826 in capital improvement grants during the first round of funding this spring.
Round two of the Quality Matters Fund totals $180,000 in potential grants. Eligible programs seeking grant funding can apply for awards up to $50,000. The fund is open for both nonprofit and for-profit early learning programs to apply.
Interested early learning programs can visit www.earlymatterschatt.org to apply for funds. A video training will be conducted on Dec. 9 to help providers navigate the application process.
Applications are due Jan.8 and funds will be awarded Feb. 5.
“The pandemic has created so much instability and uncertainty for families that it is going to take more partnerships between public and private agencies to improve outcomes for young children in our community,” said Silvia Ramos, senior director of education initiatives at the United Way of Greater Chattanooga.
The current round of funding is provided by the city of Chattanooga in partnership with Early Matters Chattanooga and the United Way of Greater Chattanooga.