Commonwealth Cares for Children (C3) Grants

The Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) provides monthly C3 grants to support early education and care providers’ day-to-day operational and workforce costs. 

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The C3 grants are non-competitive and available for all eligible EEC-licensed child care providers open and serving families in Massachusetts.

C3 funds are in addition to current state funding and do not replace the existing subsidy funding system. 

Note: Child care programs who have received C3 funding are not considered a direct subrecipient of grant funds and therefore are not subject to federal reporting. Additionally, child care programs are not subject to report C3 grant funding in the Uniform Financial Report (UFR) submitted to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' Operational Services Division (OSD).

C3 grants can be used for: 

  • Personnel costs, benefits, stipends, and other supports for recruitment and retention; 

  • Professional development and other investments to support staff in building educator qualifications; 

  • Other investments to improve program quality such as supplies, curriculum, screening tools, etc.; and 

  • Rent or mortgage payments, utilities, facilities maintenance and improvements, or insurance. 

C3 Grant Eligibility

Providers eligible for C3 grants:

  • All EEC-licensed child care providers open to serve children, regardless of whether or not they serve children who receive child care financial assistance. 
  • Funded programs approved by EEC and run by private schools.

Residential Programs & Placement Agencies are not eligible to apply for C3 grants. 

Providers are eligible for operational funding for the months they are open for services to children and families.

C3 Grant Amounts

The C3 funding formula considers each child care provider’s licensed capacity/staffing levels, workforce investments, and community they serve. 

Key components of the formula include:

  • Funding amounts are determined based on capacity and staffing costs.
  • The formula also uses an equity adjustment for programs located in historically marginalized communities or providing services to significant numbers of low-income children.


C3 formula: base amount + equity adjustment = monthly payment

Additional Resources

How to Apply

If you have more than one site in Massachusetts, you may apply for each site.

You will need to provide the following information to complete your application:

  • Information on classrooms, current enrollment, and scholarships
  • Information on educator/ assistant compensation
  • Confirmation of consumer web page rate and hours information (Providers can view and update this information in LEAD)
  • Race/ Ethnicity and Gender of FCC Operator/Center Director
  • Attestations: maintaining salaries and providing tuition relief

A budget is NOT required for the application, although you should maintain financial records to track the use of funds.

Accessing the Application:

  1. Log-in to LEAD
    1. Enter your LEAD username and password
    2. Click login
  2. On the homepage​, click on view grants under the “Grants Management” banner
    1. If you have one program site this will take you to the EEC Grants Dashboard
    2. If you have more than one program site, you will need to select each program site separately
  3. Click “Apply Today” to begin your application

Additional Resources

Next Steps

    After a site application has been approved:

    • You will receive payments monthly.
      • Payment disbursement will be based on the date of application approval.
    • Each month, you must recertify that your application information is up-to-date to continue receiving payments. At that time, you can update your information.
      • You will receive notifications via email and in LEAD reminding you to update your information each month.
    • You will be required to complete a mid-point and post-grant report on how the funds were used and submit required state reporting.

    Additional Resources

    Get Help

    For questions or to get assistance, please contact EEC's C3 Grant Help Desk:

    Additional Resources

    Last updated: July 31, 2023

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