MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Tennessee Department of Human Services opened applications Wednesday for child care centers who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tennessee will provide $10 million in grant money to licensed child care agencies impacted by the pandemic or the Middle Tennessee tornadoes.
However, there are strict rules about who qualifies.
At Global Children Services in Whitehaven, enrollment has dropped over 50%.
“This pandemic is affecting us in a major way,” said owner Daphne Booker.
Normally on Wednesdays, she has 100 children enrolled at the center. There were 45 children there when The Investigators visited.
“A lot of parents are laid off. They can’t pay their fees right now because some are not being paid,” said Booker. “Some are just afraid to come out so they’re keeping the children at home with them.”
Booker may eventually need to make some tough decisions if enrollment continues to drop.
“We may have to send some of our employees home. It’s just heartbreaking,” she said.
The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee will review applications and administer the funds in its partnership with the Tennessee Department of Human Services.
Agencies would be eligible to apply for reimbursement of lost income after being closed for one week.
For Booker, closing isn’t an option.
The children who are at her child care centers belong to first responders, healthcare workers and industrial employees.
“They have to know that someone is taking care of their children while they are putting their lives on the front line for the community,” said Booker. “So I have to be there for them if they have to be there for us.”
To learn more about the program and to apply, click here.
Licensed child care agencies will be able to apply for assistance with, but not limited to the following expenses:
- Lost Income resulting from closing due to the disaster/emergency. Grant awards will be based on the itemized lost operating income for the period of closure.
- Response and Recovery Operations Costs that occur as a result of the disaster/emergency such as cleaning, utility repair, inspections, and substitute staffing. Grant awards will be based on the costs incurred.
- Equipment, Materials and Supplies that were lost or compromised as a result of the disaster/emergency such as area rugs, soft toys like stuffed animals, books, curriculum, learning tools and displays, damaged cabinets and shelving, supplies, and playground surfacing and equipment.
- Consultants and Coaches that are needed specifically related to disaster/emergency impacts such as helping children, caregivers, or staff through recovery, grief, anxiety, stress, or trauma.