Smart Steps Child Care Assistance Program


The Smart Steps Child Care Assistance Program is available to income-eligible working parents and parents pursuing post-secondary educational goals that have children ages six (6) weeks to kindergarten. Families that participate in Smart Steps are responsible for a portion of their child care costs or co-pay based on a sliding income scale. As part of the program, children will be enrolled in quality, affordable, child care facilities and the Imagination Library.

Space is limited in the program and will be awarded to eligible families on a first-come, first-served basis.

How to Apply

Visit the Tennessee Department of Human Services, Child Care Services webpage at: The Smart Steps Child Care Assistance Application is located on this Child Care Services page. After completing the application, submit it to your local DHS County office. A full listing of office locations can be found here:

Additional Information

Smart Steps participants can choose from more than 2,400 DHS licensed child care facilities across the state. Along with independent research, parents can use tools offered by the department to assist in choosing child care. These include the find child care tools located on the DHS website, the Child Care Report Card posted in all licensed child care facilities, and the Star Quality Program, which recognizes providers that exceed minimum licensing standards.