Funding for New and Expanding Child Care Businesses in Maine
$15 million dollars in federal funding has been allocated for the Child Care Infrastructure Grant Program through Governor Mills’ Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan and Child Care Plan for Maine. The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Office of Child and Family Services (OCFS) is administering the Child Care Infrastructure Grant Program through a partnership with CEI.
The Maine State Child Care Infrastructure Grant Program will provide funding to help start new child care businesses as well as expand current licensed capacity to increase the number of children served by existing child care providers. Grants are available through 2024 or until all funds are awarded, whichever comes first. In total, the funds awarded through the Child Care Infrastructure Grant Program are expected to add more than 3,500 new child care slots.
Individuals are eligible to apply if increased capacity or new licensure was completed after March 28, 2022.
Funds awarded for family child care businesses may be used to renovate a home to accommodate high quality child care, including adding a room to be used exclusively for the child care business. Funds awarded for child care facilities may be used to purchase and renovate a building and to construct a new space. Applications are also being accepted for costs associated with acquisitions of existing child care facilities that demonstrate at least a 25% increase in enrollment within four months of the transaction.
In addition, funds awarded may be used for the following purposes:
- Purchasing educational materials
- Acquiring indoor furniture and fixtures
- Creating an outdoor learning environment
- Procuring health and safety supplies and other materials required to be licensed
- Having sufficient working capital on hand for the first few months
Grant awards are expected to cover a portion of the total expenses required to open or expand a child care business.
Applications are currently being accepted for:
- Family Child Care Start-Up
- Family Child Care Growth
- Facility Start-Up
- Facility Expansion
- Facility Acquisitions
Application Review Process
After submission of your application, the State goes through a rigorous review process. Below are the formal steps taken:
Step 1 – CEI checks for the completion of application. Applicants are notified if there are any missing documents. At this time, OCFS Program Specialist also reviews child care system to cross check data provided in the application.
Step 2 – An internal review team comprised of staff from OCFS (child care and child care licensing), CEI, and Governor’s Office of Policy Innovation and the Future meet to discuss application contents to ensure that it meets all of the program requirements, score the application, allocate priority points and approve or deny.
Step 3 – Review team meeting outcomes are sent to OCFS leadership for final review and approval.
Step 4 – Once received, application decision sent to applicant.
*If you feel that your application result is inaccurate and would like to request a reconsideration, please submit any additional supporting documentation, including a formal letter outlining justification, to CCInfrastructureGrant.DHHS@maine.gov, within thirty (30) days of the email notice regarding the application result. The submission of the reconsideration request email should be titled “RECONSIDERATION REQUEST”* Response to the request and notification regarding the decision of the secondary application review process will be made within four (4) weeks.