Start-Up Family Child Care Grants

A total of $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.


Maine residents interested in starting a home-based or family child care business are encouraged and eligible to apply for up to 75% of their start-up costs, up to $8,500.

Grant awards received may be used for the following purposes:

  • Renovating a home to accommodate high quality child care. Selected examples include adding a window to allow for egress and to add natural light, removing a wall to increase the size of a room and adding an accessible ground-floor bathroom.
  • Purchasing educational materials. Selected examples include books, musical instruments, developmentally appropriate toys and consumable supplies, such as paper, paint and chalk.
  • Acquiring indoor furniture and fixtures. Selected examples include tables, chairs, cribs and sleeping mats.
  • Creating an outdoor learning environment. Selected examples include building pathways, gardens or activity centers, such as a mud kitchen.
  • Buying playground equipment. Selected examples include swings, sandboxes, shade areas, playsets and energy-absorbing material.
  • Procuring health and safety supplies and other materials required to be licensed. Selected examples include first aid kits, electrical outlet covers and gates.
  • Having sufficient working capital on hand for the first month. Selected examples include money to cover payroll and children’s food.

Up to $25,000 is available to those adding a room on to their home exclusively for their child care business.

Priority Areas

Priority will be given to applications from Aroostook, Franklin, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Somerset and Washington Counties. In addition, applicants committing to the following will receive bonus points:

  • Providing care for infants
  • Providing care for toddlers
  • Providing care for families income-eligible for subsidy
  • Participating in the USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program

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Application Process

There are two steps to the Family Child Care Start-Up application process:

  • FCC Start-Up Application 1 : Completing the requirements to earn a child care license. You must complete this application first and it is anticipated that it may take several weeks. You may save your work as you go. Applications will be accepted until all funds are awarded or through August 31, 2023, whichever occurs first.
    • You will need to have several documents available (click for full list of required documents) to qualify to be a grant recipient. If you choose to pause the application at any time, you can save and return to the application to make any updates as needed.
  • FCC Start-Up Application 2: Describing your family child care (number of children, hours of operation and services provided) plus a list of your start-up expenses. You will receive a link to this application, referred to as FCC Start-Up Application 2, upon completion and acceptance of FCC Start-Up Application 1. It is anticipated that this application may take a few days to complete. Applications will be accepted until all funds are awarded or through September 30, 2023, whichever is first.

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