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Learn more about Build, Learn, Grow resources for families and programs.

Build, Learn, Grow

Learn more about Build, Learn, Grow resources for families and programs.

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  • HELPING PROVIDERS REBUILD AND STRENGTHEN AFTER THE PANDEMIC

    Build, Learn, Grow Stabilization Grants are non-competitive and designed to provide short-term funding to early care & 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. Grants are administered by Indiana’s Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning (OECOSL) and made possible by funding Indiana received from the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act.

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    Log in to I-LEAD to Start your Program's Application

Eligibility

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To be eligible, early care and education and out-of-school programs must be:

  • A licensed center, licensed family child care home, unlicensed registered ministry or legally licensed-exempt provider who was licensed by March 11, 2021
  • Meets applicable state and local health and safety requirements at the time of application including the completion of comprehensive background checks.
  • Open and currently serving children on the date of application (Please note that temporary closures of 14 days or less due to COVID-19 exposure do not apply.)
  • In good standing with Indiana’s regulations for licensed or registered care. To be considered in good standing for the purposes of this grant, a program must be compliant with current regulations and may not be in an active repayment process or the subject of an active investigation or enforcement action by OECOSL.

Allowable Expenses

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Providers may use Build, Learn, Grow Stabilization Grant funds across six categories of allowable expenses to cover costs incurred from Jan. 31, 2020-Sept. 30, 2023. These allowable expense categories include the categories below.

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

Awarded programs are required to keep expenditure records and supporting documentation related to how funding was spent for state and federal reporting purposes.

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Watch the Build, Learn, Grow Stabilization Grants Webinar

To help you prepare to take advantage of these grants, watch this introductory webinar featuring background information on the grant opportunity, eligibility criteria, participation requirements and more.

Watch in Spanish
  • Application Process

    The process to apply for and receive grant funds is streamlined to deliver funds as quickly as possible to providers. The application period for the first grant round is Oct. 6 through Dec. 30. Grants are awarded on a rolling basis and non-competitive in nature. Grant amounts are calculated per site based on each provider’s program type, average attendance, staffing costs, quality level and geography. Grant awards for this first round will total approximately 3 months of a provider’s monthly operating costs. A provider’s total amount of grant funding received through the Build, Learn, Grow Stabilization Grant program is capped at $500,000 per site for the duration of the program.

    Providers access the mobile-friendly application through the I-LEAD system. To streamline this experience for providers, any available state data is pre-populated within the application, allowing providers to confirm or change as needed.

    Upon award, grant funds will be electronically deposited into providers’ bank accounts within three weeks of grant approval. Awarded programs have until Sept. 30, 2023, to spend grant funds.


  • Download the Stabilization Grant Worksheet to prepare for submitting your application.

    Descargue la Hoja de trabajo de subvención de estabilización para prepararse para enviar su solicitud.

    Download the Application User Guide for Build, Learn, Grow Stabilization Grants.

    Download the Provider Agreement for Build, Learn, Grow Stabilization Grants.

    Descargue el Acuerdo de proveedor para subvenciones de estabilización Build, Learn, Grow.

Support

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For support with the Build, Learn, Grow Child Care Stabilization Grant process, review the FAQs below or contact the SPARK Help Desk at (800) 299-1627 or email help@indianaspark.com. Live chat is also available on indianaspark.com or in My SPARK Learning Lab.

Eligibility FAQs

  • What programs are eligible to receive grant funding?

    To be eligible, programs must fall within one of the categories listed below and have been licensed or registered through OECOSL to operate in the state of Indiana on or before March 11, 2021. Programs must also be open and currently serving children, and their license or registration must be in good standing at the time of application submission.

    • Licensed child care centers
    • Licensed family child care homes
    • Unlicensed registered ministries
    • Legally licensed-exempt programs
  • What does it mean to be a program in “good standing”?

    To be in good standing for the purposes of this grant, a program must be compliant with Indiana’s regulations for licensed or registered care and may not be in an active repayment process or the subject of an active investigation or enforcement action by OECOSL.

    Questions regarding OECOSL enforcement status should be directed to your licensing consultant or to oecoslproviderinquiry@fssa.in.gov. Licensing consultant contact information can be found in the maps below.

  • Does my program have to be CCDF eligible to receive funding?

    No. Programs that meet the eligibility requirements of the grant can receive funding, regardless of whether they are eligible to serve children in the state’s subsidy program.

  • If my program was open before the COVID-19 pandemic and closed due to financial hardship but I want to reopen, am I eligible to apply for and receive funding?

    No. To be eligible, programs must meet all eligibility criteria including being open and currently serving children at the time of application submission. Future opportunities may be available for programs wishing to apply for reopening support.

  • Are Head Start programs eligible?

    Head Start or Early Head Start grantees are not eligible, however, Child Care Partnerships may apply.

  • Are On My Way Pre-K programs eligible?

    Yes. Programs that receive funds through the On My Way Pre-k program are eligible to apply but must attest that grant funds will be used for their intended purposes and not to replace other costs.

  • Are Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) or public, non-public, or charter schools eligible?

    Yes. LEAs who have been issued a license or registration from OECOSL are eligible. LEAs are exempt from the 20% requirement to spend funds on enhanced staff wages and benefits. Additional stipulations for the use of funds within these organization may apply and are outlined in the application.

  • If my program is eligible but I do not wish to receive funds, can I decline?

    Programs are not required to apply or participate in the program.

  • Can I apply if I have a pending application for a child care license?

    No. To be eligible, providers must meet all eligibility requirements including being licensed/registered at the time of the American Rescue Plan Act enactment on March 11, 2021. Providers licensed or registered after this date may be eligible for future funding opportunities.

  • If I became licensed after March 11, 2021, am I eligible to receive funds?

    No. To be eligible, providers must meet all eligibility requirements including being licensed/registered at the time of the American Rescue Plan Act enactment on March 11, 2021. Providers licensed or registered after this date may be eligible for future funding opportunities.

  • If I applied for and received financial support from another source, am I eligible for these funds?

    Yes. However, providers accepting these funds must ensure the funds are not used to pay for expenses already covered by other federal, state or local relief funds or grants.

  • NEW - 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.

Grant Details 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.

  • What is the deadline to apply?

    The application for the first round of funding is open the week of Oct. 4-Dec. 30, 2021. Applications will not be accepted after Dec. 30, 2021 at 11:59 p.m.

  • 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

  • What is required of me if my program accepts these funds?
  • NEW - 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 much funding are programs eligible to receive?

    Grant awards vary by program and are calculated at the provider site level using a cost estimation formula that considers program type, average attendance, staffing, quality level and geography.

    For the first grant period, awarded programs will receive grants totaling approximately three months of monthly operating expenses. Funding for future grant rounds may vary, and grant awards will be capped at $500,000 per site for the duration of the Build, Learn, Grow Stabilization Grant program.

  • 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.

  • How will I receive grant funds?

    The application period for the first grant round is Oct. 6 through Dec. 30, and applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Upon award, grant funds will be electronically deposited into providers’ bank accounts within three weeks of grant approval.

  • Is there a limit to the number of programs that will be funded?

    No. Funds are in place so that every eligible program can receive at least one grant per site.

  • Will Build, Learn, Grow Stabilization Grants be considered income when I file my 2021 taxes?

    Yes, the IRS and the Indiana Department of Revenue considers this funding income. All programs will receive a 1099 for grant funds received. OECOSL recommends consulting with your accountant or tax expert for related questions and concerns.

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

    Federal regulations require all recipients of federal funds to keep financial documents for five (5) 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 related to how funding was spent include, but are not limited to:

    • 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.

  • What is the deadline for my program to spend grant funds?

    All funds must be spent by Sept. 30, 2023, per federal guidance.

  • 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.

  • NEW - Are grant funds taxable?

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

Application Process FAQs

  • How do I apply for Build, Learn, Grow Stabilization Grants?

    Applications for the first round of funding will be accepted on a rolling basis beginning October 6, 2021, through December 30, 2021. To apply, providers should log in to I-LEAD and click on the homepage button that says "Start your Stabilization Grant application".

    Applications will not be accepted after 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 30, 2021.

  • Is the online application the only way to apply?

    Yes, the application is only available online and must be submitted electronically. It can be completed using a computer or mobile device. The application works best in Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari and Microsoft Edge.

  • In what languages is the application available?

    The application is available in English, Spanish, French and Burmese.

  • Where can I get help filling out the grant application?

    If you need assistance, review the help resources available on this page or contact the SPARK Help Desk at (800) 299-1627 or email help@indianaspark.com. Live chat is also available on indianaspark.com or in My SPARK Learning Lab. The Help Desk is available Monday-Thursday from 8 a.m.-7 p.m. and Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

  • What do I need to apply for the grant?

    To simplify the application process for providers, much of the information has been pre-populated based on your license number. To confirm the information is correct and complete any remaining fields, you will need your:

    • Program enrollment information by classroom
    • Average monthly expenses including staff salary/wage and benefits information
    • Bank account information to set up direct deposit and have your award deposited directly into your account (Note: This only applies to programs that are not yet set up in the state’s payment system.)

    Download the Stabilization Grant Worksheet to prepare for submitting your application.

    Descargue la Hoja de trabajo de subvención de estabilización para prepararse para enviar su solicitud.

  • I am unsure how to respond to a question in the grant application. Who should I contact?

    If you need assistance, review the help resources available on this page, or contact the SPARK Help Desk at (800) 299-1627 or email help@indianaspark.com. Live chat is also available on indianaspark.com or in My SPARK Learning Lab. The Help Desk is available Monday-Thursday from 8 a.m.-7 p.m. and Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

  • Do I have to complete the full application at once, or can I save and return later?

    The grant system allows providers to save their application progress and return later to complete it.

  • Does the grant application time out? If so, will I lose my work?

    The grant application will time out after two hours of inactivity. If it times out, you will lose your work.

  • If I click, “Back” will I lose the information I have entered on the current screen?

    The portal will save information you have entered during the current session.

  • What should I do if my program’s information does not appear in the portal?

    To submit an application on behalf of a program, you must be a Program Admin on the account. If you are not a Program Admin, an existing Program Admin must invite you to become an admin on the account by logging into their I-LEAD account, selecting the provider site, clicking “Invite Admin,” and adding your information. For further assistance, contact the SPARK Learning Lab at (800) 299-1627 or email help@indianaspark.com.

    If you are an existing Admin on the account and do not see your site’s information listed, please contact the SPARK Help Desk at (800) 299-1627 or email help@indianaspark.com. Live chat is also available on indianaspark.com or in My SPARK Learning Lab. The Help Desk is available Monday-Thursday from 8 a.m.-7 p.m. and Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

  • What if my program’s information appears incorrectly on the grant application?

    If you come across incorrect pre-filled information in the grant application, please contact your licensing consultant to request the information be updated. Providers should allow up to 48 hours for information to be updated in the grant portal, and should wait to submit their application until all information appears correctly. Licensing consultant contact information can be found in the maps below.

  • Do I have to enter my bank information to be paid?

    Providers who have entered banking information for past funding or payment efforts will not need to re-enter this information. However, providers who are not yet set up in the state’s payment system will be prompted to update their banking information during the grant application process to receive grant payments.

  • What is included on the application?

    The application is structured into the following sections:

    • Program Information – Providers are asked to review basic program information including program address, type and administrator contact information, and to confirm that they meet the related eligibility requirements of the grant.​
    • Children & Staff – Providers will enter enrollment and staffing information for their program. This information will include age groups served by classroom (if applicable), typical number of staff present at one time, average attendance and maximum capacity.​
    • Monthly Program Expenses – Providers will be presented with an estimated grant award to support monthly operating expenses. The total considers each provider’s program type, average attendance, staffing costs, quality level and geography.​
    • Banking Information – Providers will enter their banking account information to establish direct deposit for receiving grant funds. If direct deposit has been set up previously, providers will simply review and confirm the information is correct.
    • Allowable Expenses – Providers will review the grant’s approved expense categories and indicate how they plan to use funds.​
    • Program Agreements – Providers will review the grant requirements and confirm that they understand and plan to adhere to them during the grant period.
  • Do multi-site organizations apply under one application, or do I complete an application for each site?

    Providers must apply for each site separately.

  • The site says my program is not eligible for a Build, Learn, Grow Stabilization Grant. Who can I contact with questions?

    Eligibility questions can be sent to the Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning at oecoslproviderinquiry@fssa.in.gov.

  • How long does it take to complete the application?

    While the time it takes to complete the application will vary by person, we recommend planning 20 minutes to complete each site application.

  • Is the application mobile friendly?

    Yes. The application can be completed on a smart phone or tablet, as well as a computer. The application works best in Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari and Microsoft Edge.

  • How will I be notified of my grant award?

    In most cases, providers will receive their award confirmation and the grant amount at the end of the grant application. If, however, a grant needs to undergo further review before award confirmation, providers will be notified of their grant award within seven business days.

    The system will generate automated email notifications from noreply@mail.childcaregrants.fssa.in.gov when an application has been submitted, an application has been reviewed/awarded or an application needs further review or action. If you do not see a notification when you think you should have one, be sure to check your SPAM folder.

  • What if I don’t know my program’s operating expenses?

    Contact the SPARK Help Desk at (800) 299-1627 or email help@indianaspark.com for assistance. Live chat is also available on indianaspark.com or in My SPARK Learning Lab. The Help Desk is available Monday-Thursday from 8 a.m.-7 p.m. and Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

  • How close do my program expenses need to be to the cost estimation provided in the portal?

    On the Program Expenses page, a cost range is displayed that considers program type, average attendance, staffing costs, quality level and geography. A program’s expenses must fall within in this range. If expenses are outside of that range, providers will need to click “No” and provide updated information for the system to recalculate.

  • If approved, how soon will I receive payment?

    Upon award, grant funds will be electronically deposited into providers’ bank accounts within three weeks of grant approval.

  • Can I split my grant payment across multiple bank accounts?

    No. You may only use one bank account for grant payments.

  • How will I know how much I should expect to receive?

    Grant awards are calculated at the program site level within the application using a cost estimation model. The cost estimation formula considers each provider’s program type, average attendance, staffing costs, quality level and geography. Providers will receive a total award amount during the application process so they are aware of the funding total they should expect to receive.

  • Am I required to agree to all grant agreements?

    Yes. To receive funds, providers must confirm that they understand and plan to adhere to all grant requirements during the grant period. Review the grant agreements here. Descargue el Acuerdo de proveedor para subvenciones de estabilización build, learn, grow.

  • For what reasons might my application be denied?

    Applications may be denied based on a program’s inability to meet eligibility criteria or due to falsification of application information.

  • What if information about my program (e.g., address, ownership, authorized agents, etc.) changes after I submit my application?

    Programs should immediately contact their licensing consultant if there are pending changes to their program address, ownership or operational status.

  • Who can complete the grant application for program sites?

    Those designated as Program Administrators in I-LEAD are the only ones with access to complete a program site’s grant application.

  • How do I become a Program Administrator for my program in I-LEAD?

    You will need an existing Program Admin to invite you to become an admin. Once you accept the emailed invitation, you will be able to manage the site’s account.

    Existing admins can add you by logging into their I-LEAD account, selecting the provider site, clicking “Invite Admin,” and adding your information. If you require further assistance, contact the SPARK Learning Lab at (800) 299-1627 or email help@indianaspark.com.

  • After I complete an application for my first site, how do I access applications for my other sites?

    To access an application for another program site, return to the grants portal home screen and click “Grants” at the top of the screen. Additional sites will appear. Click on them to start the application for those sites.

  • NEW - I need to update my banking information with the state. What should I do?

    To update your banking information, complete this banking form and void a check. Send the W-9, banking form, and voided check to the Provider Inquiry email at OECOSLproviderinquiry@fssa.IN.gov for processing. Please do not send the banking form back to Conduent.


  • NEW - How do I change languages in the application?

    To change languages in the application, please see the application guide for instructions: https://d190qg16zubs76.cloudfront.net/resources/Build-Learn-Grow/Stabilization-App-User-Guide-10-5-21.pdf

  • NEW - What should I do if I submitted an application but have not received any follow-up communication?

    You should receive automated email notifications from noreply@mail.childcaregrants.fssa.in.gov when your application has been submitted, reviewed/awarded, or needs further review or action. If you do not see a notification when you think you should have one, be sure to check your SPAM folder. If you still have not received an email communication, contact the SPARK Help Desk at (800) 299-1627 or email help@indianaspark.com. Live chat is also available on indianaspark.com or in My SPARK Learning Lab.

  • NEW - What if we are unsure how we plan to use the funds? Should we check all allowable expense categories in the grant application?

    If you’re unsure how to use your grant funds, contact the SPARK Help Desk for support at (800) 299-1627 or email help@indianaspark.com. They can walk you through the best options for your program. Then select the categories you feel most certain about for use of your grant funds.

  • NEW - Can I put all funds toward a single category?

    Yes, if you deem that category to be the best use of your grant funds, you can select one category.

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

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

  • NEW - What should I do if I submit the application and need to change something?

    To request to change something on your grant application, contact the SPARK Help Desk at (800) 299-1627 or email help@indianaspark.com.

  • NEW - Who is considered an employee?

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

  • NEW - Do I count myself as an employee?

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

  • NEW - How should family child care homes that operate 24 hours or multiple shifts add classrooms?

    Family child care homes (FCCH) should not add additional classrooms but rather enter the typical number of children served during the main part of the day as one classroom. The system will then provide the FCCH with cost estimates based on 12-hours-a-day of care. If your FCCH is open for longer than 12 hours per day, you can provide that detail by overriding the cost estimate on the Monthly Expenses screen. It's important to note the system is calculating your program's monthly operating expenses, not reimbursing you on a per-child basis. Contact the SPARK Help Desk at 1-800-299-1627 for further assistance.

  • NEW - What should I do if I am unsure of my program's monthly expenses or unsure how to calculate them?

    Reach out to the SPARK Help Desk for support at 1-800-299-1627. SPARK professionals can help you assess and calculate your program’s expenses to prepare for your application.

Post-Award Support and Considerations FAQs

  • If I receive funding, am I required to complete grant reports?

    Yes. In receiving funds, programs agree to complete two grant reports: a mid-term report at three months post-award, likely to coincide with the application period for the second round of funding, and a final report at the conclusion of the grant period. These reports, which will be completed using the online portal, will collect important information on programs’ use of these funds and required state and federal reporting documentation.

  • Do I have to submit receipts to prove how my program spent funds?

    Programs are not required to submit proof of how the funds were spent, unless specifically requested. Programs are required to document spending and be prepared to share those records should OECOSL request them by audit. Providers selected for an audit must provide the department with documentation related to eligibility and use of funding.

  • 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.
  • NEW - 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.

  • NEW - When am I required to complete a grant report?

    You are required to complete your grant report approximately three months after your grant award.

  • NEW - What information will be required for grant reporting?

    Your post-award grant report will ask you to share data and information about how you have spent awarded funds and the impact those investments are having.

  • NEW - What if I don’t spend all funds by the grant deadline?

    In accepting the grant award, you are required to spend all grant funds by the Sept. 30, 2023 deadline. Failure to do so will result in having to repay unused funds.

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

    Yes, financial consultation is permitted.

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.