Building a Stronger Early Care and Education System For the Long Term.
The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the cracks in our nation’s child care system, further making the case that we need to work together to address long-term solutions that will strengthen the industry for the future.
It is important we use our state’s COVID-19 child care relief funds to not just help programs rebuild their operations, but implement solutions that will provide long-term recovery.
Funds will deliver critical relief to programs and vulnerable families, accelerate industry recovery and sustainability, and reinforce the system with long-term supports.
Provide Support for Increased COVID-19 Operating Expenses
Indiana’s plan aims to help offset increased operating costs associated with COVID-19 and provide programs with resources to hire and reopen classrooms.
To address increased operating expenses and enable programs to make forward-looking business decisions, the Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning (OECOSL) will issue temporary Emergency Relief Grants which offer a 20% increase to reimbursements for programs serving children receiving CCDF/OMWPK.
OECOSL will provide support for increased food costs by increasing CACFP reimbursements for participating programs. Claims submitted for costs incurred during May-Sept. 2021 will be eligible for the increased reimbursement.
OECOSL will continue providing support to programs facing temporary closures due to a positive COVID-19 case. Programs must apply online to be eligible to receive funding. Grants are capped at $40,000 per closure and decisions are made every two weeks.
Help Programs Rebuild Their Workforce
Pre-pandemic, the early childhood education industry already faced recruitment shortages and high industry turnover rates. Indiana’s plan will support programs in rebuilding their early childhood education teams and invest in longer-term efforts to strengthen the workforce.
To help programs rebuild their teaching teams, OECOSL will issue a statewide industry-building campaign to raise awareness of and interest in early care and education careers. This effort will build on the recommendations of Indiana’s Preschool Development Grant Transition to Teaching initiative completed in partnership with Early Learning Indiana.
To support recruitment and onboarding costs associated with hiring new team members, OECOSL will waive background check fees and issue $400 stipends to child care programs for each new hire. Stipends may be used to cover costs associated with recruitment, employee health and safety requirements, and mandatory job training.
Deliver Support for Families While Rebuilding Enrollment
Enrollment is critical to early childhood program operations. The plan aims to put providers back to work by restoring enrollment and helping them regain financial footing — all while increasing access for families.
To provide temporary relief to families and reduce collection burdens for programs, OECOSL will waive families’ CCDF co-pays through the end of October 2021.
The Build, Learn, Grow Scholarship Fund — operated in partnership with Early Learning Indiana and Indiana Afterschool Network — will create early childhood and summer program scholarships for up to 50,000 children of essential workers with income at or below 128-250% of FPL. These scholarships will help connect all working families to high-quality early childhood and out-of-school learning, while also stimulating enrollment demand.
New child care supports for low-income Hoosier workers displaced by COVID-19 will help them re-enter the workforce and get connected with high-demand jobs.
Build, Learn Grow
Frequently Asked Questions
Find frequently asked questions about Build, Learn, Grow program initiatives at the link below.