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The Child Care Facilities Improvement Program provides grants to New Jersey child care providers for facilities improvements that will contribute to high quality early childhood learning environments. 


Phase 1 of the Child Care Facilities Improvement Program will provide grants for total project costs between $50,000 and $200,000 to licensed child care providers to make improvements to their child care facility in order to:

  • Provide funding to businesses—including many minority- and women-owned businesses and those in Opportunity Zone eligible census tracts—that otherwise may not have access to resources to fund facility improvements.
  • Promote healthy childhood environments for children, families, and child care providers that were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Support the capacity of child care providers to provide infant and toddler care in tandem with the expansion of Universal Pre-K to serve more 4-year-olds in the state.
  • Engage providers to participate in New Jersey’s child care quality improvement rating system, Grow NJ Kids.
  • Target resources to communities of greater need due to historic disinvestment, through set-aside for providers located in Opportunity Zones and include the requirement that providers serve low-income children receiving Child Care Assistance subsidies.


Child care centers licensed by the NJ Department of Children and Families (NJDCF) as of June 4, 2021 are eligible to apply for facility improvement grants. Child care providers may own or lease the space where the facility improvement will occur. Landlords are not eligible to apply.

Applicants are limited to two applications per Employer Identification Number (EIN). Applicants operating from multiple locations under a sole EIN must submit separate applications for each NJDCF-licensed location, up to two locations.

Applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Child care center licensed by NJDCF as of June 4, 2021*
  • Applicants must currently enroll, or have enrolled in the 12 months prior to the date of application, at least one (1) child receiving support through New Jersey Department of Human Services (NJDHS) Child Care Assistance Program
  • Applicants may be for-profit businesses or non-profit organizations
  • Can own or lease space
  • Applicants must be in good standing with the New Jersey Departments of Labor and Workforce Development, Environmental Protection, NJDCF, and NJDHS
  • Applicant must not be debarred from receiving federal funds, as indicated through System for Award Management (SAM)
  • Applicants are limited to one (1) application per DCF-licensed child care center location, and two (2) applications per Employer Identification (EIN).
  • Applicants who are not currently enrolled in DHS’ Grow NJ Kids (GNJK) quality rating system must commit to enroll within one (1) year of executing a grant agreement with the EDA.
  • Grantees must commit to maintaining their licensure with DCF to provide child care for four (4) years following execution of the grant agreement at the location of the facility improvement project.

* Home-based child care providers are not eligible for the first phase of the program. Funding for registered family child care homes will be available in subsequent program phases.

Facility improvement projects must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Total project costs between $50,000 and $200,000
  • Labor and materials cost for interior and exterior facility improvements to create high quality early childhood learning environments. Please see the full list of eligible facility improvement projects here.
  • Soft costs are capped at up to 20% of total grant and are limited to: architect fees, permit fees, construction management, freight and shipping delivery, environmental assessment
  • Contractors conducting facility improvements must be a DOL Public Works Registered Contractor and abide by state prevailing wage and affirmative action requirements
  • The Program will not provide reimbursement for costs already incurred prior to award


Grants will be made for eligible project costs between $50,000 and $200,000. Grants are intended to cover the full cost of the facility improvement project and applicants may not use external funding sources to fund the specific project(s) proposed in the application for this program.

Grant awards will be calculated based on the quoted project cost of the facility improvement, plus an additional 15% which the grantee may use, upon request and NJEDA verification, for unanticipated cost overruns.

The Program will not provide reimbursement for costs already incurred prior to award. 


Due to financial hardship experienced by child care providers during the pandemic, the Authority will collect no fees from the applicant for this program.


Are you a Department of Labor Registered Public Works Contractor interested in helping improve child care facilities through the New Jersey Child Care Facilities Improvement Program?

To help connect potential applicants with DOL Public Works Registered Contractors, the NJEDA will develop and maintain a public list of DOL Public Works Registered Contractors that have expressed interest in the program.  This list will be made available as an optional resource to potential applicants.
If you would like to be on this list, please click here

What requirements are contractor(s) subject to on this project?

  • Contractors must be registered as a New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (DOL) Public Works Contractor. More about Public Works Registered Contractors can be found here.
  • Contractors and their subcontractors must register at SAM.GOV and are subject to a debarment check
  • Contractors must agree to pay prevailing wage, which is set by county and by construction trade
  • Contractors with 4 or more total employees must abide by affirmative action requirements

Department of Labor Public Works Registered Contractor Information Session

Please join us on Thursday, November 10th from 1:00 – 2:00 pm to learn more about the New Jersey Child Care Facilities Improvement Program – Phase 1 and its contractor requirements.  Topics covered will include prevailing wage and affirmative action requirements, public works contractor registration and debarment verification, and payment submissions. Register here for this upcoming virtual event.