Arkansas Daycare & Child Care Grants


Looking for funds to start, and later on maintain, a child care business is a daunting task especially now that obtaining a bank loan is a very difficult process. Many people who are in the child care business oftentimes draw capital from their savings or borrow from family and friends. In some instances, running a child care business becomes financially unsustainable but operators keep on going just for the love of children and their commitment to provide the community the necessary service of caring children of working parents.

Instead of seeking a bank loan, a better alternative to obtain funding for the continued operation of a child care center is to look for grants that are given by many organizations, both government and private. A single grant may not be enough to sustain the operation of a child care center but is possible to obtain multiple grants to cover the needed capital. The best source of grants for a child care center is the local Child and Family Service Office which can help a child care center access several grant programs. Operators can also tap local businesses to contribute funds toward the establishment and maintenance of the child care center.

Applying for a grant is not easy but it is not as difficult or daunting as it may seem. Most organizations that provide grants have ready application forms which are generally self-explanatory. Some grants are provided for child care centers that work with specific groups of children but it is not the general requirements for most of the child care grants. The basic requirements for availing of a grant include a business license to operate a child care center and a federal tax identification number.

Most grant applications require a grant proposal, which is simply a request for a grant that outlines the reasons why the child care center should be entitled to it. The grant proposal, therefore, must “sell” the business to the grant approval board by enumerating the purpose of the center and the population it will serve. The proposal must explain how the child care center can provide a positive impact on the community that it aims to serve. The proposal must also explain how the grant will be specifically used for.

Different Sources of Grants

  1. Federal

    Federal grants are funded by the different agencies of the federal government. Typically, grants from a federal agency are funneled down to the communities through state agencies.

    U.S. Department of Agriculture – It has two agencies with start-up/expansion funding programs:

    The Rural Housing Service (RHS) has facility funding available for non-profits or local governments that support child care facilities. (

    The Rural Business Cooperative Service has guaranteed loan programs for small business development available for profit child care programs. For eligibility or to apply for any of their programs, contact the state or local Rural Development Office,

    U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) – The agency has funding programs that support child care services. The Child Care Bureau has several funding programs for child care facilities.

    U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) – It supports child care facilities near or within public housing, EZ/EC’s, or low-income areas through facility construction using block grants, programs, and networks. To determine eligibility or to apply for any of their programs, contact the state HUD office at

    U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) – It provides small businesses financing options, technical assistance, and child care resource information. Check with your local SBA offices at

    U.S. General Services Administration – It has programs that allow the donation of surplus federal personal property to state and local public agencies and qualifying nonprofits, which include child care centers. Please contact

    There are other federal programs that support child care such as:

    The Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) provide child care vouchers to subsidize the cost of care for low-income families as well as funds for state child care quality improvement initiatives. Nearly half of all children receiving CCDF subsidies are between the ages of five and 12. States are required to utilize at least 4 percent of their CCDF funds on quality activities and may also use discretionary funds earmarked by Congress for school-age care quality improvements and/or resource and referral activities. States may choose to use these funds to support initiatives to improve the quality and availability of school-age care, such as training programs or capacity-building grants for afterschool providers.

    Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) funds, which provide financial support for low-income families, may also be used to support afterschool programs in ways consistent with one or more of the four purposes of the TANF program. States may either directly spend TANF funds on afterschool programs and initiatives, or states can transfer up to 30 percent of their federal TANF allocation to the CCDF. TANF funds transferred to CCDF are subject to all of the CCDF rules and requirements, and can be used to expand out-of-school time capacity-building and quality-enhancement efforts. Direct TANF spending can provide states with additional flexibility when it comes to afterschool care. For example, funds can support services for older youth and can support programs as well as individual subsidies for children.

    The 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21CCLC) is the only federal funding source that exclusively supports afterschool programs. The purpose of 21CCLC is to support community learning centers that provide students with a broad array of academic enrichment services, including tutoring, homework help, and community service, as well as music, arts, sports, and cultural activities. When the program first began in 1998, the U.S. Department of Education made competitive awards directly to school districts. However, following the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act in 2002, 21CCLC was converted into a state formula grant program. As a result, the Department of Education awards grants to State Education Agencies (SEAs), which then manage statewide competitions to grant funds to eligible organizations.

    Federal Food and Nutrition Programs may support snacks or meals for afterschool program participants. After school programs may be able to receive reimbursements from one of four different food and nutrition programs administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture: the National School Lunch Program: Afternoon Snacks, the Child and Adults Care Food Program, the Summer Food Service Program and the School Breakfast Program. Reimbursement from these programs can be used to free up funds already spent on meals and snacks to support other program components.

  2. State

    There are several state agencies in Arizona that fund child care assistance programs. Many grants can be obtained through the Family Child Care and Development Grants. Applications can be made through In addition, funding sources can be accessed through the following programs of the Arkansas Department of Human Services:

    Arkansas Better Chance
    Arkansas Better Chance for School Success is a state-funded pre-k program swerving 3 and 4 year old children from families with earned income that does not exceed 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. It was created by Act 49 in 2003. Grant applications must be submitted through mail, fax, or email to:

    Division of Child Care/ABC Unit

    700 Main Street, Slot S160
    Little Rock, AR 72201
    Fax: 501-683-0971
    Email to: Jamie Morrison

    Financial Assistance for Early Care and Education
    The Office grants assistance to families for paying for child care. There is a sliding fee schedule based on the income and size of the family. Applications are available at the local Arkansas Department of Human Services offices, or call (501) 682-8947 or (800) 322-8176

    Program Support and Development
    Services are available for providers including provider training, scholarships, and technical assistance and enhancement grants. Information can be obtained from the following:

    Arkansas Child Care Resource and Referral Center

    501-682-9699 or 1-800-445-3316

    Northwest Arkansas Child Care Resource and Referral Center, Inc.
    479-751-3463 or 1-800-KIDS-LOG

    Children of North central Arkansas Resource and Referral Center
    870-793-5233 or 1-800-737-2237

    ACQUIRE – ASU/Childhood Services

    870-972-3055 or 1-888-429-1585

    Jefferson Comprehensive Child Care Links

    Child Care Connections, Inc.

    Arkansas Child Care Facilities Guaranteed Loan Program

    This is not a grant program but loan guarantee assistance to people who find it difficult to obtain a bank loan to finance the development of new facilities or expansion of existing facilities for child care, particularly in low income, rural areas which demonstrate a need for additional child care. Guarantees are available to a maximum of $25,000 and may be used for operating capital as well as capital outlay.

    Application forms for Arkansas Child Care Facilities Loan Fund may be obtained through the Arkansas Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education Program Support office located at 700 Main Street, P.O. Box 1437, Little Rock, AR 72203. You may request an application packet by writing to that address, by phone at (501) 682-9699, by faxing your request to (501) 682-4897, or through its website at by sending an e-mail message requesting a packet or downloading the application directly.

    Child Care Facilities Funding/Community Development Block Grant
    The Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education and the Arkansas Economic Development Commission joined in a partnership to assist in the development of quality child care programs in the State of Arkansas. The Division provides the pre-application review for AEDC to determine the viability of potential child care proposals. AEDC provides grant funding for construction or renovation of child care facilities that will serve a majority of low to moderate income children. The grants, though, are available only to city or county governments.

    All entities requesting Arkansas Community and Economic Development Program (ACEDP) assistance for their child care center project must complete and submit their proposal to the:

    Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education
    P.O. Box 1437, Slot S160

    Little Rock, AR 72203

    Enhancement Grants
    Grants, up to the maximum of $4,000, are available to child care providers for the improvement or enhancement of the quality of the child care service or to correct a deficiency. Providers are required to demonstrate age appropriate immunizations for all children in their care in order to qualify for these grants. A child care facility that is fully funded through the Arkansas Better Chance program is not eligible to apply for this grant. Grant awards require a cash match of at least 25% of the amount granted. Applications must be submitted to:

    Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education

    PO Box 1437, Slot S-160

    Little Rock, AR 72203

    Contact: Nikki Caton – (501) 682-9699

    Arkansas Early Childhood Commission
    The Commission oversees grant programs to further childcare services in the State of Arkansas.

    Contact Information:
    Arkansas Early Childhood Commission
    700 Main Street #1101
    Little Rock, AR 72201

    (501) 682-9699

    In addition to the agencies under the Arkansas Department of Human Services, the Arkansas Science and Technology Authority (ASTA) provides state grants, through a competitive application process, to Arkansas enterprises in applied research, technology transfer, and development of innovative technology-based businesses and projects that stimulate economic growth and industrial competitiveness in Arkansas.

    Contact Information:
    Arkansas Science and Technology Authority

    423 Main Street #200
    Little Rock, AR 72201

  3. Private

    Private foundations that are based or operating in the State of Arkansas, as well as those operating nationwide, can also be tapped as source of funding for the establishment and operation of child care business, support for parents and families to avail of child care services, and the training of professionals in the field of child care. Some of these foundations are the following:

    The F.B. Heron Foundation – It is a private, grant making institution dedicated to supporting organizations with a track record of building wealth within low-income communities. It provides grants and investments in organizations that promote three wealth creation strategies for low-income families in urban and rural communities.

    Contact Information:
    The F.B. Heron Foundation
    100 Broadway, 17th Floor

    New York, NY 10005
    Phone: (212) 404-1800

    The Annie E. Casey Foundation

    The grant making of the Anne E. Casey Foundation is limited to initiatives in the United States that manifest significant potential to demonstrate innovative policy, service delivery, and community supports for disadvantaged children and families. Most grantees have been invited by the Foundation to participate in these projects. While the Foundation does not seek or fund unsolicited grant application, it accepts specific promising program, practice, or policy that helps children and families succeed.

    Contact Information:

    Bank of America Foundation
    The Bank of America Foundation operates with one of the largest philanthropic budgets of any financial institution in the United States. In 2001 it contributed more than $85 million in cash to nonprofit organizations across the country. It concentrates funding on pre-K through grade 12 educations and supports programs in early childhood development, economic and financial education, and teacher development. Community revitalization is another focus for funding nonprofit organizations.

    Contact Information:

    Enterprise Foundation
    The Enterprise Foundation and its more than 2,200 network members work together to provide low-income people with affordable housing, safer streets, and access to jobs and child care. Its mission is to see that all low-income people in the United States have the opportunity for fit and affordable housing, and to move up and out of poverty into the mainstream of American life. The foundation believes that supporting quality and affordable child care in low-income communities is critical to the growth and health of neighborhoods. They support home-based and center-based care, foster community partnerships, and advocate for public policy changes to improve the quality, supply, and affordability of child care in low-income communities.

    Contact Information:

    Foundation for Child Development (FCD)
    FCD is a national private philanthropy dedicated to the principle that all families should have the social and material resources to raise their children to be healthy, educated, and productive members of their communities. FCD seeks to understand children, particularly the disadvantaged, and to promote their well-being. The foundation supports basic and policy-relevant research about the factors that promote and support optimal development of children and adolescents; policy analysis, advocacy, services, and public education to enhance the discussion and adoption of social policies that support families in their important child-raising responsibilities; and leadership development activities linked to the programmatic focus of the foundation.

    Contact Information:

    A.L. Mailman Family Foundation
    The A.L. Mailman Family Foundation’s mission is to enhance the ability of families and communities to nurture their children. Its primary program goal is to ensure quality early care and education for all young children. During the past 20 years, the foundation’s work has shifted from support for innovative projects and model programs, to experimentation with replication strategies, to an emphasis on policy, research, and systemic approaches.

    Contact Information:

    Charles Stewart Mott Foundation

    The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation is a private philanthropy based in Flint, Michigan. Through four programs, it makes grants in the United States and selected regions internationally. In 1997 the foundation and the U.S. Department of Education entered a multi-year partnership in support of 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC). The foundation helped support the Urban Institute’s Assessing the New Federalism project.

    Contact Information:

    Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF)

    RBF is dedicated to promoting the well-being of all people in the transition to global interdependence. One of the goals of the fund’s Education Program is to promote universal, quality education and care for pre-K children by using a comprehensive approach to their development, including concerns for health, safety, and readiness to learn. Strategies include supporting development of public policies that promote universal access to early childhood programs, and advancing the professional development of early educators.

    Contact Information:

Arkansas Daycare Training and Education