Child Care Services
Child Care Services plans, implements, and coordinates activities and programs to ensure quality, and the health and safety of children in licensed care. Child Care Services includes Child and Adult Care Licensing, Child Care Payment Assistance (Smart Steps and the Child Care Certificate Program), Child Care Assessment and other partner programs.
DHS is committed to promoting early childhood environments that are safe, healthy, and educationally rich.
DHS wants to support parents who are employed in essential services and need child care. Many licensed child care providers across Tennessee remain open and have the capacity to care for children of essential workers. You may click on the tile below for a directory to see what licensed child care providers are able to serve children in your community. The information is organized by county.
Attention Child Care Providers:
We're recruiting for the Child Care Certificate Program.
New Child Care Resources for Providers
The Child Care WAGE$® Program is an education-based salary supplement program for child care educators employed in TDHS Licensed Child Care agencies. Click here for more information.
Resources including business management tools, human resource tools, program administration tools and classroom resources will be available at no cost through an online centralized knowledge resource that aligns with State requirements. Click here for more information.
Enhancement grants will be available to TDHS Licensed Child Care agencies that specifically support quality improvement, compliance with licensure rules and capacity enhancement. Click here for more information.
To promote safe environments for children, Pediatric First Aid and CPR training and certification will be available to all licensed child care educators and administrators at no cost. Click here for more information.
Do you need child care payment assistance while you work or attend school?
You may be eligible for Smart Steps Child Care Payment Assistance if you meet the following eligibility requirements:
- Must be employed no less than 30 hours per week, or be enrolled and attending a post-secondary education program full-time, or a combination of both
- Must have a child between ages six (6) weeks old through five (5) years old
- Household gross income must be below the 85th percentile of the State Median Income (SMI) for Tennessee. Please refer to the flyer at the link below for the Household Income Limits chart.
Learn more about Smart Steps on the Smart Steps flyer, by clicking here. For more information about the Smart Steps child care payment assistance program please call 615-313-4820 or 1-800-462-8261. To apply, print and return the Smart Steps Application to your nearest DHS Child Care Office which can be found by clicking here.
Application for Child Care Payment Assistance/Smart Steps (HS-3408) - Instructions
Application for Child Care Payment Assistance/Smart Steps (Spanish) (HS-3408sp) - Instructions
Application for Child Care Payment Assistance/Smart Steps (Arabic) (HS-3408a) - Instructions
Application for Child Care Payment Assistance/Smart Steps (Somali) (HS-3408s)- Instructions
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Report Child Care violations/complaints by calling the Child Care Complaint Hotline at 1-800-462-8261
Have more questions? Contact a child care licensing office near you. Contact information can be found by clicking here.