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Navigating Childcare Grants and Other Funding Resources in New Jersey

Grants and other financial assistance can offer essential funding to childcare businesses. Discover available childcare grants in New Jersey and get advice on securing funding.

Navigating Childcare Grants and Other Funding Resources in New Jersey

Navigating Childcare Grants in New Jersey

For childcare providers navigating the complexities of licensing regulations and financial planning, grants are a welcome source of funding. Understanding and securing grants can not only enhance your childcare business but also unlock a world of resources and opportunities.

In this detailed article, we’ll cover various grant opportunities and funding resources available to childcare providers in New Jersey and tips to consider as you apply for grants.

What is a grant?

Grants, unlike loans, are sums of money awarded by governmental or other organizations that do not require repayment. They are designed to assist with various aspects of life, including educational pursuits, business ventures, and community development. For childcare providers particularly, they can bolster essentials like facility improvement, professional development, and even technology integration.

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!

Preschool children playing indoorsSource

Childcare grants in New Jersey

New Jersey is dedicated to supporting its childcare sector, a crucial component for the well-being of working families and the future growth of young learners. Understanding the diverse needs within the childcare field, the Garden State extends a variety of financial support options to meet these varying requirements.

Grants and resources from government agencies

The New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division of Family Development is the lead state agency that oversees the distribution of the federal Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) in New Jersey. 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.

New Jersey Department of Human Services

The New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division of Family Development provides grants and resources aimed at stabilizing childcare facilities financially, ensuring children's safety, and promoting professional development among caregivers. Below are examples of some initiatives: 

    • Thriving by Three Grant: The Thriving by Three Grant supports the creation of infant and toddler slots in childcare programs and provides technical assistance to providers for expansion of childcare spaces. 
  • NJ Child Care Facilities Improvement Program Grant Phase 2: This grant program is launching phase two in the summer of 2024 and will provide New Jersey registered family child care homes (FCCs) with grant amounts between $10,000 and $20,000 to purchase furniture, fixtures, and equipment that will contribute to high-quality early learning environments. This grant will not fund construction, repairs, or renovations.
  • Grow NJ Kids: Grow NJ Kids is the state’s quality rating improvement system (QRIS). The program provides resources, training, and incentives to childcare providers to improve the quality of their programs.
  • Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP): This program assists low-income families to pay for childcare so that parents can remain employed or pursue education and training. Providers who participate in CCAP receive subsidies that can maintain a stable income for their program and allow them to reach more families and children in their community. 

Professional development support

Investing in the professional development of childcare staff is crucial for maintaining quality in early childhood education. The state of New Jersey provides various resources to support individuals working in the childcare industry:

Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (CCR&Rs)

The CCR&Rs provide localized support to childcare providers by connecting them with community resources, guiding them through licensing and business best practices, providing training, and offering advice on social service programs they may qualify for. 

New Jersey Child Care Information System (NJCCIS) 

The New Jersey Child Care Information System (NJCCIS) offers business operation support to childcare providers including licensing, registration, inspections, grants, and professional development resources. Scholarships may also be available to educators at eligible childcare programs in the state.  

Grants from private foundations

In addition to government programs, private foundations in New Jersey also champion the cause of childcare providers with grant programs.

Community Foundation of New Jersey

The Community Foundation of New Jersey actively seeks to enhance educational outcomes and foster safe, nurturing environments for children. The Community Foundations grants tens of millions of dollars each year through its various funds to support a wide range of community needs, including education and childcare initiatives. 

New Jersey Center for Nonprofits

The New Jersey Center for Nonprofits is a statewide network that offers training and workshops, advocates for public policies, and connects nonprofits to vital resources. They regularly post funding opportunities on their website.

The PNC Foundation

Through its Grow Up Great initiative, the PNC Foundation supports early childhood education efforts, offering grants to providers for curriculum development, teacher training, and classroom resources in New Jersey and beyond.

Turrell Fund

The Turrell Fund specifically aims at improving the lives of children from birth to age six in New Jersey and Vermont, with grants focusing on early care and educational excellence.

Child raising her hand in preschool.Source

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 New Jersey. 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 New Jersey 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 New Jersey. 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

For New Jersey's childcare providers, grants are more than just financial help—they're also invaluable support to families and children in the community. By understanding, pursuing, and securing grants, you’re not just bridging financial gaps, you’re also providing a richer, more secure environment for the children you serve.


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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