Free Childcare Now Available for Essential Workers

April 17, 2020


TDHS Partnering with YMCA to Offer Free Childcare for Essential Workers


The State of Tennessee Department announced a partnership between the Department of Human Services and the YMCA to support families that are serving in essential workforce positions throughout the state. Through payment assistance and a network of temporary care locations, parents who work as essential employees can access child care at no cost, during the COVID-19 pandemic state of emergency.

Through this partnership and state funding, the YMCA is able to provide free child care for school-aged children of all essential workers. The Y has established a network of temporary/emergency child care locations across the state, including several locations in Memphis and West Tennessee. Families can register for days of care through a flexible registration process. Operating hours have been extended to accommodate the varying schedules essential employees and weekend care will be made available if community need arises. Essential employees with school-aged children who need care will be able to register at these locations and access care at no charge during the COVID-19 state of emergency.

“We know that essential workers are putting themselves on the frontlines every day to provide services that our community desperately needs during this time,” said Jerry Martin, President & CEO of YMCA of Memphis & the Mid-South. “This is just one way the YMCA is able to support families, making sure that essential workers can have peace of mind that their children are being cared for in a safe place.”

Effectively immediately, Essential Employee Childcare will be offered to match working schedules of essential workers. Care will be supervised by trained childcare team members for school-age children, beginning at age 5.

To be eligible for the program, parents must work in a job that’s identified as being essential by Governor Bill Lee’s “Safer at Home” order. More details on which occupations qualify are available online at

“We have put safety precautions in place and have been working with CDC, local health departments, and state and local governments to ensure that we are able to offer this emergency care,” said Martin.


For more information on locations, times, and to sign up, click the button below.

Register For Care


For information on the YMCA’s COVID-19 Relief Efforts and to donate to support this effort, please visit:


 Update 5/28:

This program has now been expanded to include select Community Centers, thanks to a partnership with the City of Memphis. Learn more>