Tennessee expanding programs, $700 million for pregnant women and families in need

Published: Jun. 1, 2020 at 9:21 PM EDT
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The Tennessee Department of Health announced it's expanding its program that offers assistance to pregnant women, families in need, and free childcare to essential workers during the COVID-19.

"We want to make sure that any family that has suffered a loss of their job or a significant reduction of hours because of COVID-19 knows that this resource is available," said Daniel Barnes, Commissioner for the Department of Human Services for the state of Tennessee.

The Essential Employee Child Care Payment Assistance Program will now continue through mid-August. It now includes all categories of essential workers identified in Gov. Bill Lee's Executive Order 22.

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program has been extended until June 30, 2020.

The application process is completely virtual and information required to be uploaded to apply can be found

Barnes says the Temporary Assistance program is a two-month benefit and ranges from $500 to $1,000 depending on the size of the family.

For pregnant women, Barnes says the only documentation they need is proof of pregnancy and loss of job or reduction of hours because of COVID-19.

As for the Essential Employee Child Care Payment Assistance Program, after essential workers are approved for the program, TDHS officials will make arrangements to pay for child care at the TDHS licensed or Tenn. Department of Education regulated program where the child is being served.

Applications for the child care assistance program can be found here.

Regardless of when an application was submitted or approved, the benefit will be effective on the first day of the program, April 15, 2020, if the child was in care at that time.

Once the child is enrolled in care and the essential employee is approved for payment assistance, TDHS will make arrangements to pay for that child care as well.

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