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  • Using Indiana’s federal COVID-19 relief funding, the Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning (OECOSL) launched the Build, Learn, Grow Stabilization grant program to provide critical funding to early childhood and school-age providers, support their program’s operating expenses and help them rebuild their programs for the future. In total, the program provided over $534 million in grants to more than 3,200 providers across Indiana.

    While the program has ended, OECOSL continues to provide support for providers as they plan for how to use and make investments with their grant funds.

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Grant Impact

Awarded providers are using their grants to recruit and retain staff through increased wages, bonuses and benefits; invest in their facilities; offer professional development and mental health support; and cover the cost of safety-related materials. See how the Build, Learn, Grow Stabilization Grants are making an impact in your community.

View the Build, Learn, Grow Stabilization Grant Dashboard

Ongoing Support

As providers plan, use and report on the use of their grant funds, OECOSL continues to offer support through SPARK Learning Lab. Providers have access to 1:1 consultations and group resources. Visit indianaspark.com to see a full list of support opportunities, or contact the SPARK Help Desk at (800) 299-1627, via email at help@indianaspark.com, or live chat on indianaspark.com or in My SPARK Learning Lab.

Eligible Expenses

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Providers can use Build, Learn, Grow Stabilization Grant funds across six eligible categories, as outlined below. Providers must report expenditures every three months following their award date. See the “Grant Reporting” section below for more details.

Descargue la Guía de gastos permitidos en español.

  • Personnel Costs

    Personnel costs include expenses related to hiring, compensating, training or retaining staff.

    Examples of these expenses include:

    • Payroll and salaries
    • Premium pay (e.g., higher wages provided to employees who work holidays, weekends, nights, vacation days or more than eight hours a day)
    • Recruitment incentives
    • Staff bonuses
    • Wage increases
    • Employee benefits (health, dental, vision, insurance)
    • Retirement costs and contributions
    • Educational costs (professional development, training, scholarships, etc.)
    • Child care costs for staff
    • Paid sick or family leave
    • Work-related transportation costs for employees (e.g., transportation and mileage reimbursement for educational training programs, etc.)
    • Support for getting the COVID-19 vaccine (appointments, paid sick leave, transportation, etc.)

    Records or supporting documentation for these types of expenses may include:

    • Payroll and benefit records
    • Employee timecards
    • Invoices, receipts and check information for professional development trainings
    • Documentation of other benefits provided to child care staff members such as overage of insurance costs or tuition reimbursement
    • Bank statements
  • Facility Fees, Maintenance and Improvements

    Programs may use grant funds for expenses required to pay for, maintain or improve their facilities.

    Examples of these expenses include:

    • Rent, lease or mortgage payments
    • Business utility bills (heat, electric, phone, Wi-Fi service, etc.)
    • Liability and/or accident insurance, transportation insurance, homeowner's insurance, business insurance, etc.
    • Late fees or charges from late payments
    • Facility maintenance or minor improvements such as:
      • Upgrading playgrounds
      • Renovating bathrooms
      • Installing ramps, railings and other accessibility features
      • Removing non-loadbearing walls to create more space for social distancing
      • Replacing carpet with linoleum or another easily cleaned surface
      • Installing touch-free faucets or light switches

    Please note that grant funds from this category CANNOT be used for construction or major renovations/remodeling (e.g., structural changes to foundations and loadbearing walls, extensive alterations of a facility, etc.).

    Records or supporting documentation for these types of expenses may include:

    • Mortgage/rent/space cost statements
    • Utility statements
    • Original invoices and/or receipts for purchases of materials/supplies
    • Bank statements
  • COVID-19 Safety-Related Needs

    Programs may use grant funds to purchase, replenish or update equipment and supplies used in response to COVID-19.

    Examples of these expenses include:

    • Personal protective equipment (gloves, masks, digital thermometers, face shields, changing table paper, etc.)
    • Cleaning and sanitation supplies and services (cleaning/disinfecting wipes, ventilation systems, vacuums, washer/dryer, bleach, hand sanitizer, spray bottles, soaps, garbage bags, professional cleaning and sanitation services, independent cleaning services, etc.)
    • Training and professional development on health and safety practices (OECOSL-approved trainings on health and safety requirements and best practices, staff time to review and prepare for CDC guidance, etc.)
    • Indoor and outdoor equipment and supplies (portable partitions, plastic shields, sink installation, disposable utensils and dishes, COVID-19 signage, storage containers, etc.)
    • Business items needed to respond to new challenges (software for tracking attendance, communicating with parents, etc.)

    Records or supporting documentation for these types of expenses may include:

    • Original invoices and/or receipts for purchases of materials/supplies
    • Employee timecards
    • Invoices, receipts and check information for professional development trainings
    • Bank statements
  • Goods and Services Necessary to Resume and Strengthen Operations

    Programs may use grant funds for expenses that support them in maintaining or resuming full operations, as well as making investments in goods and services that strengthen their programs for the long-term.

    Examples of these expenses include:

    • Food and beverage services for program-provided meals
    • Equipment and materials necessary to run a child care business
    • Materials for play and learning
    • Materials for eating
    • Materials for diapering and toileting
    • Materials to ensure safe sleep
    • Business automation training and support services (e.g., child care management systems)
    • Costs for shared services (e.g., Shared Service Alliances)
    • Child care management services (online payroll systems, accounting services)
    • Transportation services
    • Janitorial or cleaning services
    • OECOSL-approved trainers for staff

    Records or supporting documentation for these types of expenses may include:

    • Original invoices and/or receipts for purchases of materials/supplies
    • Bank statements
    • Invoices, receipts and check information for professional development trainings

  • Mental Health Supports for Children and Employees

    Programs may use grant funds to support costs related to the mental health and well-being of their children and employees.

    Examples of these expenses include:

    • Childhood mental health supports (e.g., infant/toddler and early childhood mental health consultation services, targeted programming, etc.)
    • Mental health consultations and other mental health supports for staff
      • Staff training and development
      • Coaching
      • Team building
      • Resiliency and stress management
      • Staffing patterns and schedules
      • Program materials and supplies
    • Family engagement
      • Parent/teacher conferences
      • Books and other materials children can take home
      • Activities like family game nights

    Records or supporting documentation for these types of expenses may include:

    • Original invoices and/or receipts for purchases
    • Employee timecards
    • Invoices, receipts and check information for professional development trainings
    • Bank statements
  • Health and Safety Training

    Programs may use grant funds for costs associated with training staff in health and safety measures.

    Examples of these expenses include:

    • Professional development training to meet state and local health and safety guidelines, including those related to:
      • Health and safety training
      • Medication Administration Training (MAT)
      • Prevention of and responses to food and allergic reactions
      • CPR and First Aid
      • Health care consultants
      • Behavioral specialists
      • Infant toddler specialists
      • Additional staff to provide support for children and classrooms based on children's needs

    Records or supporting documentation for these types of expenses may include:

    • Original invoices or receipts
    • Payroll records
    • Employee timecards
    • Invoices, receipts and check information for professional development trainings
    • Bank statements

Grant Reporting

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Awarded providers are expected to report their grant expenditures on a quarterly basis through the end of the grant period or until they have spent all of their funds, whichever comes first. Grant reports should be submitted through the Build, Learn, Grow Stabilization Grant portal in I-LEAD.

Providers who received funds during Round 1 and Round 2 must only complete one report for the full sum awarded. Providers will receive automated reminders to submit their grant reports and must submit them within 30 days of the end of the reporting period. Failing to report expenditures on a timely basis will result in providers being ineligible for future Build, Learn, Grow initiatives.


Grant Reporting Schedule

General Grant FAQs

  • What is the purpose of the Build, Learn, Grow Stabilization Grants?

    Build, Learn, Grow Stabilization Grants are designed to provide short-term funding to early care and education and out-of-school time programs that have faced increased costs and challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing them to stabilize their operations and build capacity for the future.

  • How can grants be used?

    Child care programs may use Build, Learn, Grow Stabilization Grant funds across six categories of allowable expenses, for reimbursement of expenses incurred from Jan. 31, 2020–Sept. 30, 2023. These allowable expense categories include:

    • Personnel Costs: Personnel costs include expenses related to hiring, compensating, training or retaining staff.
    • Facility Fees, Maintenance and Improvements: Programs may use grant funds for expenses required to pay for, maintain or improve their facilities.
    • COVID-19 Safety-Related Needs: Programs may use grant funds to purchase, replenish or update equipment and supplies used in response to COVID-19.
    • Goods and Services Necessary to Resume and Strengthen Operations: Programs may use grant funds for expenses that support them in maintaining or resuming full operations, as well as making investments in goods and services that strengthen their programs for the long-term.
    • Mental Health Supports for Children and Employees: Programs may use grant funds to support costs related to the mental health and well-being of their children and employees.
    • Health and Safety Training: Programs may use grant funds for costs associated with training staff in health and safety measures.

    Download the Allowable Expense Guide

  • Are family child care homes (FCCH) required to use at least 25% of the grant to increase staff wages or benefits?

    If your family child care home has only one employee (you), you are not required to invest at least 25% of your grant award toward increasing staff wages or benefits. You are welcome to use your grant funds in this way, but you are not required to adhere to this provider agreement stipulation. If your FCCH has employees other than you, then you must follow this requirement.

  • How far back can I go to reimburse my program for previous expenses?

    Programs may use Build, Learn, Grow Stabilization Grant funds to cover expenses incurred from Jan. 31, 2020–Sept. 30, 2023.

  • Do I have to pay back grant funds?

    These funds are not considered 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 attestation, or who are found to have provided false or misleading information to OECOSL regarding funding requirements, may be asked to repay funds, be deemed ineligible for future grant rounds, and/or be referred to Indiana’s Family and Social Services Administration Audits Department for additional action.

    Additionally, programs that close permanently during the grant period will be required to return any unused funds.

  • Do I have to provide receipts or documentation of how my program spent grant funds?​

    All programs receiving a Stabilization Grant must submit a Grant Expense Report for each round of grant funding indicating how grant funds were used.

    Additionally, federal regulations require all recipients of federal funds to keep financial documents for five years. You will only be required to produce the receipts if your program is selected for an audit to provide evidence of expenditures, as indicated in your grant. Expenditure records and supporting documentation examples include:

    • Mortgage/rent/space cost statements
    • Utility statements
    • Payroll and benefit records
    • Original invoices and/or receipts for purchases of materials/supplies
    • Documentation of other benefits provided to child care staff members such as overage of insurance costs or tuition reimbursement

    Download the Allowable Expense Guide to see examples of acceptable documentation for each category.

  • Am I required to repay or return funds if my program closes after receiving funding?

    If a program closes during the grant period, the provider will be required to return any remaining grant funds.

  • Are Stabilization Grants considered taxable income?​

    Yes. All programs will receive a 1099 for grant funds received. OECOSL recommends consulting with your tax professional for tax-related concerns. If you do not currently have a tax professional, contact the SPARK Help Desk at (800) 299-1627 or email help@indianaspark.com. ​

  • Can Stabilization Grants be used to support programs that serve children over age 12?

    No. Stabilization Grant funds can only be used to support programs serving children up to 13 years of age. This is in accordance with guidance from the Office of Child Care and because these funds are coming through CCDF which only serves children up to 13 years of age.

  • Will there be any future rounds of funding?

    At this time, funds for Indiana’s Build, Learn, Grow Stabilization Grants have been exhausted and there are no plans for additional rounds of funding.

Post-Award Support and Considerations FAQs

  • What is the process for completing a grant report?

    To complete a grant report, you must be a Program Admin in I-LEAD. Log in to I-LEAD and access the Stabilization Grant portal through the button on the homepage. Then select the Reporting tab and your program site to begin the grant report. You will enter expense amounts by category, even if the answer is $0. You must complete this Grant Expense Report before you are eligible to complete a Round 2 grant application. Reference the Grant Expense Reporting Guide for step-by-step details.

  • In the Grant Expense Report, what qualified as a permanent wage increase?

    For questions related to staff wage increases or staff wages after the grant, you should only include permanent wage increases that will continue for the long term. Do not include temporary staff bonuses or short-term wage increases as a permanent increase in pay.

  • Are there resources available to help me decide how to best use or invest grant funds into our program?

    Yes. OECOSL has partnered with SPARK Learning Lab to provide pre- and post-award support and technical assistance to awarded programs. Support includes hosted webinars for field experts to share best practices for the use of grant funds and peer-sharing events, as well as post-award technical assistance including a cohort-based approach to supporting programs as they account for funds, explore and make decisions for the use of funds, and track related expenses.

  • Can programs blend Build, Learn, Grow Stabilization funds with grant funding received through other public or private sources?

    Awarded programs may use Build, Learn, Grow Stabilization Grant funds across nine categories of allowable expenses, for reimbursement of expenses incurred from Jan. 31, 2020 – Sept. 30, 2023. Programs are required to document spending and be prepared to share those records should OECOSL request them by audit.

    Allowable expense categories include:

    • Personnel Costs: Personnel costs include expenses related to hiring, compensating, training or retaining staff.
    • Facility Fees, Maintenance and Improvements: Programs may use grant funds for expenses required to pay for, maintain or improve their facilities.
    • COVID-19 Safety-Related Needs: Programs may use grant funds to purchase, replenish or update equipment and supplies used in response to COVID-19.
    • Goods and Services Necessary to Resume and Strengthen Operations: Programs may use grant funds for expenses that support them in maintaining or resuming full operations, as well as making investments in goods and services that strengthen their programs for the long-term.
    • Mental Health Supports for Children and Employees: Programs may use grant funds to support costs related to the mental health and well-being of their children and employees.
    • Health and Safety Training: Programs may use grant funds for costs associated with training staff in health and safety measures.
  • How will technical assistance help me post-award?

    Post-award, technical assistance will help you consider how you can invest funds for the greatest impact and support any reporting or tracking needs or questions you may have. It will also give you the opportunity to learn from other programs of similar type, size and situation. Technical assistance includes support that could encompass trainings (online or in person), resources (job aids), coaching (onsite and/or virtual), program assessment tools and peer-to-peer learning opportunities.

  • What information will be required for grant reporting?

    Your Grant Expense Report will ask for the total dollar amount of grant funds spent per allowable expense category. Receipts and documentation are not required, though federal law requires you to keep them on file for five years.

  • Can I use funds to pay for financial consultation to help me consider how to best use my grant?

    Yes, financial consultation is permitted.

  • How can I view my Stabilization payment on HoosierChildCare.com?

    Your Build, Learn, Grow Stabilization payment will be deposited to your account in a one-time payment aligned to CCDF payment schedule. Learn how to check for your payment on HoosierChildCare.com here.

  • Can I put all funds towards a single category?

    Programs (excluding LEAs) must invest at least 25% of grant funds toward increasing staff wages and benefits. You may invest the other 75% in a single category if you believe it to be the best use of your grant funds.

  • What if we select a category on the application and then later discover we need to use funds for higher-priority needs?

    OECOSL will give providers leniency in making these types of changes so long as the higher-priority need falls within the allowable expense category.

  • Who is considered an employee?

    An employee is anyone who is on payroll working in your program.

  • Do I count myself as an employee?

    If you work for a center or ministry then you should count yourself. If you are reporting for a FCCH the homeowner/licensee should not be included as an employee.

  • How do I report grant expenditures?

    Reporting grant expenditures is quick and simple. Reference the step-by-step Grant Expense Reporting Guide.

  • How frequently do I have to report grant expenditures?

    Awarded providers must submit grant expense reports every quarter.

  • Do I have to submit a report if my grant expenditures have not changed between reporting periods?

    Yes, you still need to submit a grant expense report, even if your expenditures have not changed.

  • I need help deciding how to use my funds. Who should I contact?

    SPARK Learning Lab can help. Contact the SPARK Help Desk at (800) 299-1627, via email at help@indianaspark.com, or through live chat on indianaspark.com or in My SPARK Learning Lab.

  • I need help completing the grant report. Who should I contact?

    For help completing your grant report, review the step-by-step Grant Expense Reporting Guide or contact the SPARK Help Desk at (800) 299-1627, via email at help@indianaspark.com, or through live chat on indianaspark.com or in My SPARK Learning Lab.

  • What happens if I fail to report grant expenditures?

    If you fail to report expenditures on a timely basis, you will be ineligible for future Build, Learn, Grow initiatives.

  • What happens if I don’t use all my grant funds?

    If you do not use all of your grant funds, you must return any unspent funds to OECOSL.

  • What is the deadline to spend/use all grant funds?

    Awarded programs have until Sept. 30, 2023, to spend grant funds.

Security, Privacy and Fraud Prevention FAQs

  • Is immigration or citizenship information being shared with the federal government?

    No provider-level information is being shared with the federal government. Only required information will be shared.

  • Why is OECOSL asking about my program’s expenses?

    The questions asked and provider information provided inform the cost estimation model, which produces the grant award amount. Individual program data will not be published in any way, but aggregated data will help to inform changes to the state’s cost model and future reimbursement structures.

  • How will data from my application be used?

    Like other states, Indiana intends to use aggregated data collected through the grant program to expand the findings of the recently conducted Narrow Cost Analysis and to ultimately reassess and make updates to the state’s cost model and future reimbursement structures.

  • Will OECOSL be publishing any of the data collected as part of Build, Learn, Grow Stabilization Grant applications?

    No. OECOSL will not be publishing the grant recipients nor the data they provide as part of the application.

  • Is the data in providers’ applications and the information about funding awards public data?

    Most funding application data is classified as public data, and if requested, must be made available to the person requesting it. Examples of private data that cannot be shared with the public are an individual’s Social Security information and data that can potentially identify children in programs. If you have data-related inquiries, please contact oecoslproviderinquiry@fssa.in.gov.