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Navigating Childcare Grants and Other Funding Resources in Idaho

Learn the steps and resources available to help you obtain childcare grants in Idaho and get the funding you need to support your childcare business.

Navigating Childcare Grants and Other Funding Resources in Idaho

Navigating Childcare Grants in Idaho

Navigating the world of grants can be challenging, especially for childcare providers who are already juggling numerous responsibilities. Whether you’re looking to upgrade your facility, pursue professional development, or simply keep your business afloat, there are various grants available specifically for childcare providers in Idaho.

In this article, we discuss the different types of grants available in Idaho and how you can prepare to apply for them.

What is a grant?

A grant is a sum of money given by an organization, typically a government agency or private foundation, to fund specific projects or needs. Grants are awarded based on certain criteria and are intended to support initiatives that align with the goals and values of the grantor.

Unlike loans, grants do not need to be repaid, making them an attractive option for childcare providers looking to improve their services without financial strain. These funds can be used for various purposes, such as upgrading facilities, purchasing new equipment, implementing educational programs, or providing professional development opportunities for staff.

The U.S. government’s second and final funding package for fiscal year 2024 includes a $1 billion increase for programs focused on child care and early childhood education¹. This new funding includes an additional $275 million for the Head Start program and $725 million for the Child Care and Development Block Grant which funds state efforts to provide child care to families and improve the quality of care. 

Download a free grant writing guide for childcare programs here!

Childcare grants in Idaho

Idaho offers a wealth of resources aimed at supporting childcare providers, including financial assistance programs, informational websites, and local organizations dedicated to education and professional development. In this section, we explore some of the key resources available in Idaho that can help you access the grants and support your business needs to thrive.

Grants and resources from government agencies

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is the lead agency that oversees the distribution of the federal Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) in Idaho. This funding can be in the form of certificates, grants, or contracts to provide childcare services to low-income families or improve the quality of care provided.

Idaho Department of Health and Welfare

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare offers various funding opportunities for childcare programs to enhance their services and facilities.

  • Child Care Grant Phase 4: This grant funding is paid monthly to childcare providers to cover operating expenses including rent, utilities, payroll, and supplies. 
  • Child Care Wage Enhancement Grant: This grant provides monthly financial supplements to qualified childcare programs to increase wages for staff, helping to attract and retain qualified staff. 
  • Idaho Child Care Program (ICCP): The ICCP supports families by offering financial assistance to help cover the cost of child care at licensed and certified facilities in Idaho, ensuring a steady and reliable income for providers.

Professional development support

Investing in the professional development of childcare staff is essential for maintaining high-quality early education. The state of Idaho has various resources to support this additional training and education.


IdahoSTARS is a comprehensive organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of child care across the state by providing resources, training, and support to childcare providers. Through initiatives such as academic scholarships, providers can access funding for certifications, workshops, and ongoing education.

Complementing these efforts, the regional Child Care Resource Centers (CCRC) play a crucial role in delivering localized support. These centers offer valuable services, including training sessions, technical assistance, and access to a wealth of informational resources, ensuring that childcare providers in every region of Idaho can continually improve their practices and maintain high standards of care.

Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children (IDAEYC)

The Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children offers multiple resources to families and early childhood educators. These resources include access to grant opportunities, assistance with accreditation, training resources, and a job board. Additionally, Idaho AEYC provides resources to help providers implement developmentally appropriate practices and innovative educational programs, fostering a strong foundation for Idaho's youngest learners.

Grants from private foundations

Private foundations also offer substantial funding opportunities for childcare providers in Idaho. Here are some notable organizations:

CHC Foundation

The CHC Foundation focuses on providing grants to support health care, education, and community development initiatives primarily in the greater East Idaho region.

Idaho Community Foundation

The Idaho Community Foundation offers grants to nonprofit organizations throughout the state for a variety of initiatives, including those providing early childhood education and care.

The Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation

The Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation offers grants to support a wide variety of initiatives across Idaho, including those that enhance educational opportunities, promote youth development, improve community health, and provide social services. 

The Whittenberger Foundation

The Whittenberger Foundation supports non-profit organizations dedicated to improving education, arts, conservation, social welfare, health, and community services. Their grants often focus on projects that benefit children and young people and contribute to the overall quality of life in Idaho communities.

Children playing outside at preschoolSource

Federal grants and funding opportunities

The federal government offers a variety of grants and funding opportunities to support childcare providers across the United States, including Idaho. These grants are designed to improve access to quality childcare, support the professional development of childcare workers, and enhance the learning environments for children under their care. Some key federal funding sources include:

U.S. Department of Education

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) offers discretionary grants that are awarded using a competitive process, as well as student loans or grants to attend college, and formula grants determined by Congress. Here are some helpful resources to explore:

  • ED grants homepage: The ED grants homepage allows you to browse funding opportunities, links to grant applications, and your eligibility status.
  • The website is the central location that provides information on grants across the federal government. You can search for and apply to different funding opportunities, determine your eligibility, and access grant writing tips. 
  • Head Start and Early Head Start Programs: Aimed at promoting school readiness for children under five from low-income families, these programs provide grants directly to public and private non-profit and for-profit agencies to provide comprehensive child development services. The Office of Head Start (OHS) posts notices of funding opportunities (NOFOs) that seek applications for grand funds. 

U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) manages various financial assistance programs for rural applications. One example is the Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant Program that provides funds to be used to purchase, construct and/or improve essential community facilities like childcare centers, purchase equipment, and pay related project expenses in rural areas with no more than 20,000 residents.

Applying for grants

Applying for childcare grants in Idaho can be a competitive process, as funding is often limited. To increase your chances of receiving a grant, it’s essential to carefully review and follow all application guidelines and requirements. Here are some general steps to take when applying for childcare grants:

  • Meet all licensing requirements: Ensure that your program meets all of the licensing requirements in Idaho. Maintaining licensing compliance shows a commitment to high-quality standards and is often also required for you to be eligible for specific grants and funding opportunities.
  • Do your research and determine your eligibility: Research available grants and determine which ones align with your needs and goals. Before applying, check to see that you meet all the necessary criteria. Most (but not all) government grants are aimed at 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, so be sure to read the eligibility requirements carefully.
  • Gather your documentation: Most grant applications will ask for specific documentation, such as financial statements, demographic information, licenses, and certifications. Be sure to have these prepared in advance. With brightwheel you can quickly and easily access custom reporting to meet your specific needs.
  • Write a compelling grant proposal: Read successful grant applications to learn how to structure your approach. Include an executive summary of your project and clearly define the need or problem your childcare services address. Provide a detailed description of your program and list your objectives and expected outcomes. Follow all grant application instructions, have someone else review your proposal before submitting, and submit your application on time. 

Download a free grant writing guide for childcare programs here!


Additional tips for success

Here are some additional tips to keep in mind when applying for grants for your childcare center:

  • Stay informed: Connect and engage with local and state organizations focused on early childhood education. If possible, join their email lists or follow their social media pages, as these organizations will often share grant and funding information as it becomes available. Also, regularly check the websites of federal agencies to stay informed on available grants or programs. 
  • Create a budget: A comprehensive childcare center budget will highlight the financial needs and priorities of your program and give funders a clear understanding of how a grant will be utilized. With a clear picture of your program’s finances, you can also maximize the impact of any funding that is received.
  • Plan a fundraiser: Hosting a fundraising event can raise necessary funds for your program. Have a bake sale, organize a silent auction, or host a trivia night. 
  • Hire a grant proposal writer: If your budget allows, consider hiring a grant proposal writer. A grant proposal writer can craft a compelling narrative about your program and navigate the complexities of the grant application process for you.

Final thoughts

Securing grants can provide invaluable support to childcare providers in Idaho, helping them enhance their services, facilities, and professional skills. By understanding the different types of grants available and preparing effectively, you can take full advantage of these opportunities.


1. “Former Preschool Teacher Patty Murray Delivers $1 Billion More to Help Families Find and Afford Child Care & Pre-K”, United States Senate Committee on Appropriations, 03/21/2024.

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