The Department of Health and Human Services shall award grants to persons, community-based organizations, or schools needing assistance to start or improve a child care program or needing assistance to provide staff training for a child care program. No grant shall exceed ten thousand dollars. A recipient of a grant shall not be eligible for a grant more than once in a three-year period. Child care grants shall be awarded on the basis of need for the proposed services in the community. Grants shall be given only to grantees who do not discriminate against children with disabilities or children whose care is funded by any state or federal funds. When considering grant applications of equal merit, the department shall award the grant to the applicant which has not previously received a grant from the Child Care Grant Fund.