NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Tennessee Department of Human Services is increasing child care reimbursement rates by 20 percent for providers under the Child Care Certificate Program.

“We applaud the Tennessee Department of Human Services for increasing child care reimbursement rates so significantly,” said Blair Taylor, president and CEO of the Tennesseans for Quality Early Education.

Under the Child Care Certificate Program, the state pays a reimbursement rate to child care providers on behalf of the families who enrolled and meet the income and work or education requirements.

“Our Child Care Services team works hard to maintain an understanding of the needs of child care providers and families, and recognized parents and providers feel the impact of the current economy,” said Clarence H. Carter, TDHS commissioner. “It is important that we do our part to help ensure Tennessee families have sustainable access to affordable care for their children so they can work and pursue education. It’s equally important that providers have the resources they need to provide safe, quality care.”

TDHS will also waive co-pay costs for families currently participating in the State’s child care payment assistance programs starting on Aug. 1 to Dec. 31. Providers will receive the full established State Reimbursement Rate.

“Parents are encouraged to reach out to their child care provider to understand how these changes impact them, as well as any potential cost difference payment responsibility,” according to the news release.

“This is a huge step in the right direction and moves Tennessee’s child care payment assistance program closer to covering the actual costs of quality child care, while also making quality child care more accessible and affordable for eligible working families,” Taylor said.

TDHS has offered Enhancement and Stabilization grants, established WAGE$ program to raise salaries, and is taking action to modernize child care licensing.

For more information, visit the Tennessee Department of Human Services website.