A year after the Covenant School shooting, parents, teachers, and child care providers are still wrestling with a question – how to keep our children safe?

ChildcareTennessee, in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Human Services, is offering Safety Supplemental Grants to enhance safety and security in licensed child care programs across Tennessee.

Safety Supplemental Grants allow child care providers to apply for up to $4,000 to purchase safety and security items and services.

Through the Safety Supplemental Grant, child care programs can apply for bullet-resistant film for windows and doors, security cameras and systems, and other items. Providers can also apply to hire consultants to assess the security needs of child care programs, as well as intruder training for staff and building safety assessments.

“I was so excited to see the addition of a grant to specifically cover the expense of security equipment at my preschool,” said Holly Davis, director of Mustard School Preschool in Franklin, Tennessee. “Security additions and upgrades are typically costly, and with these funds, we were able to upgrade our camera system.

“Keeping children safe and well-supervised is our number one priority.”

A report from the Tennessee Department of Health released ahead of a special legislative session late last summer found that as of 2021, firearms are the leading cause of death of children under 17 in Tennessee. That is 36% higher than the national average.

This February, the Vanderbilt Child Health Poll found that two-thirds of Tennessee parents have talked to their children about gun violence at school. One in five of those surveyed shared that they have considered homeschooling or changing schools.

“Communities across Tennessee continue to worry about their children’s safety,” said Anne Clem, ChildcareTennessee grant manager. “These grants help child care programs provide a safe, secure environment without worrying about cost.”

The addition of Safety Supplemental Grants means a total of at least $8,000 is available to child care providers to enhance the quality and safety of their programs. To access the grant, licensed child care providers must first apply for a Support and Enhancement Grant.

Additional Supplemental grant opportunities to support specific areas of care, such as accreditation and infant, toddler, and preschool care, are available to providers who meet certain eligibility requirements.

Licensed child care providers can access grant information and applications by logging into ChildcareTennessee.com.

Since 2019, Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee has distributed more than $92 million to child care programs and helped create more than 12,741 new licensed child care slots in Tennessee.


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