North Carolina Daycare and Child Care Grants


The State Government of North Carolina, under the leadership of Gov. Bev Perdue, is actively supporting efforts to improve child care in the state. The state promotes safe and healthy environment for children in child care settings, and encourages the establishment of more child care facilities to aid parents, especially those who work, in the care of their children.

However, just like in any other state in the United States, looking for funds 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. 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 North Carolina that fund child care assistance programs. Many grants can be obtained through the, a state one stop resource on grants that provides online reporting access for grant recipients, grant information and resources for the general public, grant seekers, grant recipients, and state agencies. is designed to facilitate compliance with Executive Order No. 4 of Gov. Perdue which created NC Openbook, a single, searchable website on North Carolina State spending for grants and contracts.

    Child care grants in North Carolina can be accessed through the following:

    Child Care Quality and Availability Program – It is provided by the Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Child Development. The program supports the NC Rated License, professional development in the early childhood workforce and child care resource and referral services to improve the quality and availability of child care. The grant is awarded to local nonprofits with specific expertise in the area of child care and/or early childhood education.

    Contact Information:

    Smart Start – is a statewide program administered in each county to improve the quality, availability and affordability of high quality child care/early education for children birth to five years, increase access to children’s health services, and provide family support services. Smart Start’s services include child care subsidies, increased affordability and access to quality child care programs, and health and family support services. It is also provided by the Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Child Development.

    Contact Information:

    Subsidized Child Care Program – It is sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Child Development. It provides financial assistance to eligible families through county departments of social services to help pay for child care. Subsidy assistance for child care is available to support parents’ employment and/or education, child developmental needs, child protective services and child welfare services. Local Departments of Social Services or designated local purchasing agencies are eligible to this grant.

    Contact Information:

    The Community Economic Development Grants Program – The Community Development Corporation provides financial assistance to minority community development corporations to help them improve the economic well-being and quality of life in their communities. The Rural Center Grants are used by the CDCs to provide business loans, revitalize commercial districts, build housing for low-to-moderate income families, operate child-care programs, and provide literacy training, and other programs by raising money from other state and national resources.

    Contact Information:

    Helen McInnis, Director
    Community Economic Development Grants Program
    Rural Economic Development Center
    4021 Carya Drive
    Raleigh, NC 27610
    Telephone: 919-250-4314
    Fax: 919-250-4325

    North Carolina Community College Child Care Grant – The North Carolina General Assembly appropriated funding for child care services to assist student parents who are enrolled at Forsyth Technical Community College.

    Program Criteria:

    • Students will be required to submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on the Web in the Office of Student Financial Services, if they have not applied for financial aid already, to determine financial need and eligibility for any other types of financial aid, and as a prerequisite for applying for childcare funds.
    • Students must complete the North Carolina Community College Childcare Grant Program Application (available in the Financial Aid Office, Allman Center, 2nd floor). The application must be accurate and complete for consideration.
    • Students must submit documentation of daily childcare expenses from the childcare provider. A statement on the childcare provider’s letterhead or standard rate sheet is acceptable. The application is not complete and should not be submitted without documentation of daily childcare expenses.
    • The applications will be reviewed and selection of North Carolina Community College Childcare Grant Program recipients will be made by Student Financial Services on a first come, first served basis.
    • There will be no discrimination against an applicant’s race or sex.
    • Childcare providers must be licensed by the state of North Carolina in order for students to receive North Carolina Community College Childcare Grant Program funds.
    • Students and childcare providers must complete and return to the Office of Student Financial Services the Childcare Payment Request Form each month in order for the student to receive payment.
    • Students may be reimbursed with North Carolina Community College Childcare Grant Program funds up to a maximum of $750 per month.
    • Students may not receive North Carolina Community College Childcare Grant Program funds if they receive childcare assistance from any other agency. (i.e., DSS, FECP, etc.)

    Childcare funds are not available during the Summer Term.

  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:

North Carolina Daycare Training and Education