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Onsite Childcare for Teachers: A Recruitment and Retention Strategy

Chambliss Center for Children’s Partnership with Hamilton County Schools

Finding quality, affordable child care is a struggle for most working parents, including teachers who don’t have the flexibility of working from home or adjusting their hours to meet child care needs. At the same time, schools struggle to hire and retain good teachers.

To mitigate both challenges, the Chambliss Center for Children in Chattanooga partnered with the Hamilton County School District to provide high-quality, affordable, on-site child care for teachers and other school staff. Since it started, the program has expanded to 12 schools, and every new school built includes space for child care.

A “micro-center network” Solution

The business model deployed in the Chambliss-HCS partnership has come to be known in the child care field as a “micro-center network” and can be deployed in a variety of settings including but not limited to schools. The Chambliss / HCS model includes a “hub” that supports micro-centers at HCS schools and is designed to deliver high-quality, convenient child care more affordably through economies of scale.

Role of Chambliss’ Micro Center ‘Hub’:

Chambliss Center for Children’s CEO serves as director for the Chambliss Center as a whole and another team member serves as Executive Director for off-site programs including the micro-center network.

The team at Chambliss is responsible for supervision, coaching, and instructional leadership of classroom teachers as well as overseeing curriculum, child assessment, parent engagement and other pedagogical leadership tasks.

The classroom teachers are Chambliss employees, with access to Chambliss employee benefits, an internal career ladder, reflective supervision and other professional supports.

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Each classroom is individually licensed by TDHS as a “Group Child Care Home” and includes up to *12 children ranging in age from 6 weeks to 9 years. (*Some exceptions, see licensure rules)

All administrative services (enrollment, billing and fee collection, technology, insurance, data collection, licensing and quality rating liaison, etc.) are provided by Chambliss’ central staff.

Role of Hamilton County Schools:

The schools donate the classroom space and related facility supports (e.g. janitorial, maintenance), as well as equipment and furnishings.

They collaborate with Chambliss to ensure compliance with licensing, insurance and local fire and safety standards; and provide consistent communication about any issues that could impact the operation.

The schools’ parents participate in selection and salary of the classroom teacher / provider and Chambliss adjusts fees accordingly.

The parent customers and schools market the service so there help keep the classrooms at full enrollment so costs are spread.

Licensing and Payment Assistance Information

“Group child care home” Licensing Rules. Please refer to this document (pages 73-77) for Tennessee Department of Human Services licensure rules.

Child care payment assistance

Payment assistance from TDHS is available for parents with household income up to 85% of state median income (SMI) with children six weeks to five years old and who work 30 hours or more a week.  For quick reference: 85% of SMI for a parent and 1 child is roughly $42,000/year; and with 2 children it’s roughly $52,000.


Become a Loud Voice

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