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Frequently Asked Questions on Child Care Desert Grants?

Oklahoma Human Services is excited about the incredible response to the Child Care Desert Grant. As of March 1, the grant has generated more than 5,100 additional child care slots across the state. More than 150 applications are still in review.

Program Details

These grants are for programs in identified child care deserts to help increase accessibility to quality child care in areas of need around the state. The grants are available to new programs or existing programs seeking to increase licensed capacity.  

A child care desert is a county where there is not enough licensed child care to support the needs of working families. (A list of child care desert counties can be reviewed at the end of this document.)

The Oklahoma Department of Human Services will administer the Child Care Desert Grant Program. 

Child care providers must agree to NOT use the funds for any of the following purposes: 

  • Purchase of land or property 
  • Major construction or renovations. Major renovation means: (1) structural changes to the foundation, roof, floor, exterior or load-bearing walls of a facility or the extension of a facility to increase its floor area; or (2) extensive alteration of a facility such as to significantly change its function and purpose, even if such renovation does not include any structural change. 
  • Consumable supplies (diapers, wipes, soap, paper products) or office supplies (paper, staples, pens) 
  • One-time field trips for children 
  • Child care tuition (scholarships) 
  • Items prohibited by licensing 
  • Used items 

You should add to your email client safe sender list. Adding this email address ahead of time will prevent important emails from being filtered to your spam or junk folder. If do not currently receive communication from Oklahoma Human Services Child Care Services Division please email and request subscription to the Child Care listserv. 

Oklahoma Human Services (OKDHS) may be provided with certain confidential and proprietary information of the Childcare Provider (Provider). Oklahoma Human Services agrees to use the same degree of care that each such party uses to   protect its own confidential information, but in no event less than a reasonable amount of care. Oklahoma Human Services will not use Provider’s confidential information for reasons other than those necessary to directly further the purposes of the grant or otherwise permitted by law. 


  • New programs (not yet operating) must have begun the licensure process with Oklahoma Human Services at the time of application. This includes being issued a license number (K8#) and the completion of an application visit.  
  • Existing programs must be seeking to increase capacity to serve more children at the time of the application.
  • Complete and sign an application and provide a Federal Tax Identification/Employer Identification Number.
  • Be in good standing with Oklahoma Human Services at the time of the grant award and must remain in good standing throughout the grant period. Licensing violations such as denial, revocation, emergency orders or sanctions will prevent the issuance of a grant.  
  • Must accept subsidy payments.  
  • Must participate in the Quality Rating Improvement System (QRIS/STARS). 
  • Must operate for a minimum of two years after date of initial award.  
  • Be located in an identified child care desert. (A list of Child Care Desert counties can be reviewed at the end of this document.)   
  • Make services available to families regardless of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, disability, age, sexual orientation, or familial status. 
  • Complete grant participation agreement, located at the end of the application. 
  • Complete and return questionnaire that will be provided to you via email after you submit the grant application
  • Be determined eligible by OKDHS staff who review the applications. 

NOTE: Programs that have recently closed and reopen without an increase in capacity do not qualify OR Programs that have recently had a change in ownership without a break in operation do not qualify.

  • Adair
  • Alfalfa 
  • Beaver 
  • Canadian
  • Cleveland
  • Comanche
  • Cotton
  • Creek
  • Delaware
  • Ellis
  • Garfield
  • Garvin
  • Grady
  • Grant
  • Harper
  • Johnston
  • Kingfisher
  • Le Flore
  • Lincoln
  • Logan
  • McClain
  • Okfuskee
  • Oklahoma
  • Okmulgee
  • Osage
  • Pawnee
  • Rogers
  • Roger Mills
  • Sequoyah
  • Texas
  • Tillman
  • Tulsa
  • Wagoner
  • Washita

Application Process

 Oklahoma Human Services is excited about the incredible response to the Child Care Desert Grant. As of March 1, the grant has generated more than 5,100 additional child care slots across the state. More than 150 applications are still in review. Oklahoma Human Services anticipates the applications still in review will expend the remaining budgeted grant funds. For this reason, the agency will suspend new Child Care Desert Grant applications effective March 6 so all existing applications can be reviewed. Should funds still be available after all existing applications are reviewed, Oklahoma Human Services will begin targeted recruitment efforts for identified desert counties that are underrepresented by the approved Child Care Desert grantee.

 Yes, Child Care Desert Grant funds are considered income by the IRS. Providers are encouraged to consult with an accountant or tax expert to fully understand the tax implications of this funding. 

The Internal Revenue Service requires the Oklahoma Department of Human Services to obtain Federal Employer Identification Number to report what is paid to you to issue a Tax Form 1099. 

Please contact our grants helpline at (405) 521-6177 

Use of Funds

Payments will be mailed to programs by Oklahoma Human Services (OKDHS). 

For assistance, please contact Child Care Services Helpline at (405) 521-6177 or  

Programs are required to maintain records of how the funds were spent and be prepared to share those records should Oklahoma Human Services (OKDHS) request them.   

If there is indication that a provider has failed to meet Child Care Desert Grant Program requirements, it may result in discontinuation of future grant payments, recoupment of payments already made, and/or referral to the Office of Inspector General for additional action. 

These funds do not constitute a loan and child care providers who comply with funding requirements will not be required to pay them back. However, funding recipients found to have violated the terms of the application process or certification may have prior payments recouped, future payments discontinued, and/or be referred to the Office of Inspector General for additional action. 


Last Modified on Mar 07, 2023