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Indiana Cares About Child Care Fund

Child Care COVID-19 Expense Reimbursement Fund

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Funding is available to support early care and school-age providers that meet the eligibility criteria. The next round of funding announcements will be made on April 27.

Call (765) 942-1271 for questions about this grant or email cares@brighterfuturesindiana.org.

Do you have questions about your grant application or the Indiana CARES About Child Care grant find? Join the Child Care Resource & Referral Network during Zoom office hours the first Thursday of each month from 1:30-2:30 p.m. EST. 

Click here to join your local CCR&R. 

  • Safe Care for All Hoosiers

    Indiana’s early care and education providers are the foundation of our state’s economy and thriving communities. They create a two-generational economic ripple effect, allowing families with children to participate in the workforce while also nurturing the next generation of innovators and workers. The COVID-19 pandemic has put many providers in a precarious position, threatening already razor-thin margins with additional health- and safety-related expenses and declining enrollment.

    To support our state’s providers and ensure Hoosier families have high-quality child care options, the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration – in partnership with Indiana’s Child Care Resource & Referral Network – is launching the Indiana CARES About Child Care relief fund. Supported through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, these grants will help providers with safety-related expenses and emergency operating needs.

  • Eligibility

    Grants will support early care and school-age providers who meet the following eligibility criteria. Eligible nonprofit and for-profit organizations must:

    • Open and actively serving children ages 0-12. If temporarily closed due to a COVID-19 case, the program must have served children at some point in the last 30 days
    • Be an approved CCDF provider
    • Be a licensed center, family child care home, unlicensed registered ministry or legally licensed-exempt providers (LLEP) that are not schools or Head Start/Early Head Start grantees in the state of Indiana, and are in good standing with licensing

    Providers who are experiencing a temporary closure due to a positive COVID-19 case and those with needs unmet by previous COVID-19 relief funding opportunities may be given priority in funding decisions.

Grant Details

Indiana CARES About Child Care grants are designed to reimburse Indiana child care providers with COVID-19 related needs, such as purchasing health- and safety-related materials and supplies, staffing, cleaning services, additional furniture to support social distancing and other needs as outlined in the Allowable Expenses section below. Grants are also available for emergency expenses deemed necessary to reopen classrooms temporarily shut down due to a positive COVID-19 case.

Grant amounts are up to $12,500 based on a provider’s capacity.

*Providers must provide proof of their licensed capacity or capacity based on local building codes.

TIMELINE

  • Max Request: $3,000

  • Max Request: $7,500

  • Max Request: $12,500

Do you need help paying for safety-related expenses and emergency operating needs due to COVID-19? 

Receiving Indiana CARES About Child Care funds is easy. Just follow this process:

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Questions?

Contact your local Child Care Resource & Referral agency for assistance. Providers can also call (765) 942-1271 for questions about this grant or email cares@brighterfuturesindiana.org.

Locate your CCR&R

Allowable Expenses

Allowable expenses to be reimbursed by Indiana CARES About Child Care grants include:

  • Expenses to maintain COVID-19 health and safety guidelines
  • Supplies or services needed to reopen classrooms temporarily shut down due to a positive COVID-19 case

Providers who have closed and need assistance with staffing in order to reopen should click here. Allowable expenses About Indiana CARES About Child Care grants include the outlined information below. 

  • Equipment, Supplies and Materials

    Replenishing previously existing supplies or offsetting new expenses (including personal protective equipment, individual learning supplies, meal preparation and packaging, cleaning supplies, social/emotional learning materials, etc.) that are required to adhere to social distancing and safely serve children and families.

  • Staffing

    Paying substitutes, transitional staff costs related to accommodating limited group sizes or adding extra staff to help with daily health screenings and sanitation practices.

  • Professional Services

    Cleaning services following a positive COVID-19 case, new equipment or furniture to adhere to health and safety guidelines, mental health services or other professional services related to COVID-19.

Frequently Asked Questions

General

  • What is the Indiana CARES About Child Care fund?

    The Indiana CARES About Child Care fund provides critical relief funds to programs affected by the pandemic. The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) has provided CARES Act funds to local Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agencies to distribute to eligible providers in their areas. Providers may use these funds to reimburse themselves for equipment and supplies, staffing and professional services needed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. There are also emergency dollars available to providers who had had to temporarily close so that they can reopen.

  • ¿Puedo recibir ayuda en español?

    Para recibir ayuda en español, envíenos un correo electrónico a cares@brighterfuturesindiana.org y escriba “Ayuda en español” en el tema del correo.

  • Who should I contact if I have questions about the Indiana Cares About Child Care fund?

    Contact your local Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agency. To locate your agency and its contact information, click here.

  • How much money am I eligible to receive?

    If you have temporarily closed due to a positive COVID-19 case, you are eligible to receive funding for the amount needed to safely reopen your program. If you remain open and serving children, your funding is based on your program’s capacity.

    Program Capacity

    • Less than 20: $3,000
    • 20-50: $7,500
    • More than 50: $12,500
  • What type of professional cleaning service is recommended?

    Child care programs require special consideration. Cots, tabletops and toys are often subject to hands touching that go directly to the mouth. Because of this, these items must be sanitized with a chemical product that is safe for food contact surfaces. General disinfectants are not to be used on these surfaces as they require a potable rinse. For a list of products that the EPA has found to be effective against COVID-19 please visit this link. You can share OECOSL’s guidancelisted here under “Maintain Healthy Operations” with your cleaning service.

  • How can I select a mental health provider, if I would like funding for that service?

    You should select a mental health professional that is licensed to practice in the state of Indiana. For a comprehensive list of mental health professionals and their certifications, click here.

  • How often can I apply for this grant?

    Once you have been awarded, you may not apply for additional funding until you have been reimbursed. If you have a temporary closure due to COVID-19, you may however apply for additional emergency funding.

  • Can I use this funding to open an additional location?

    No, you may not use this funding to open new locations.

  • Can I use this funding to fund capital improvement (e.g. new flooring, permanent playground equipment)?

    No, this fund does not support capital expenses. This includes, but is not limited to, washing machines/dryers, refrigerators, dishwashers, permanent structures, fences, additional walls/rooms, doors and sinks/faucets.

  • Can I use this funding to pay for current staff?

    This funding can pay for wages for current staff as long as the wages are for ADDITIONAL work related to COVID-19. This funding is not meant for expenses related to new hire requirements, bonuses, staff raises or hazard pay.Funding is not meant for holiday, paid time off (PTO) or sick pay.

  • How can I use this funding to provide social/emotional learning materials?

    Examples of these types of materials might be books, puppets, materials to create calming spaces and sensory materials.

  • Can I receive funding to cover lost revenue due to a temporary closure related to COVID-19?

    You should apply for the OECOSL Child Care Closure Assistance Grant at this link.

  • Can I use funding for cleaning services?

    Additional cleaning services and materials related to COVID safety measures may be funded by this grant.

  • How will I reimbursement for an emergency application?

    If your program or classrooms have been temporarily closed due to a positive COVID case you need to apply for an emergency closure grant. Receipts dated on or after your grant application date will be considered for reimbursement. Some programs requesting emergency funding may be contacted directly by the local CCR&R in reference to the requirements and documentation for their requests.

  • How many weeks of staffing can I apply for?

    You may apply for up to four weeks of staffing.

Application

  • How can I apply?

    Interested and eligible providers should apply online. Click here for the application.

  • What is the deadline for applications?

    Applications will be considered on a rolling basis. If your program is temporarily closed due to a positive COVID-19 case, submit your application for emergency funds at any time for an expedited review.

  • How do I calculate capacity for my application?

    If you are a licensed program, you should report your licensed capacity. If you are exempt from licensing, please report your capacity based on other factors, such as your local fire marshal’s recommendation based on your building size. You may include children of all ages, including school age, as part of your total capacity.

  • How do I create a PDF, JPEG or PNG to upload required documents?

    To save a Microsoft Office document (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) as a PDF, click Save As. Under File Format, select PDF. To save a page from a web browser as a PDF, select File, then Print and then Save as PDF. Some web browsers provide an “Export as PDF” option under File. If using a photo on your phone, it should already be a JPEG or PNG format. If the photo is not uploading, make sure to turn off your “live photo” setting, retake the photo and try to submit it again.

  • Is there technical assistance available to help me complete this application?

    Yes, your local Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) agency can answer your questions and help you complete the application. Clickhere to find your CCR&R’s contact information. Providers can also call (765) 942-1271 for questions about this grant or email cares@brighterfuturesindiana.org

  • I operate a multi-site program. Should I submit one application per site, or one for the entire network?

    Please submit one application per site.

  • I have questions about how receiving this grant may affect my taxes.

    To determine the tax implications of receiving this funding, we recommend you consult with a tax professional, who can better advise you on your situation.

  • To determine my program's capacity, do I include seats funded by Early Head Start child care partnerships?

    No, please subtract those seats from your capacity for this grant.

Eligibility

  • Who is eligible to apply?

    Eligible nonprofit and for-profit organizations must be:

    • Open and actively serving children ages 0-12. If temporarily closed due to a COVID-19 case, the program must have served children at some point during the previous 30 days
    • An approved CCDF provider
    • A licensed center, family child care home, unlicensed registered ministry or legally licensed-exempt providers (LLEP) that are not schools or Head Start/Early Head Start grantees in the state of Indiana, and are in good standing with licensing
  • If I am an approved CCDF provider but we don't currently have any children who use CCDF vouchers, am I eligible for this grant?

    Yes, a program needs to be an approved CCDF provider but does not need to be actively serving children who use CCDF vouchers.

  • If we have recently received other funding, such as a Paycheck Protection Program loan or a Temporary Relief Grant from the state, are we eligible to apply?

    Yes. Programs that have received state grants or other emergency public funding during the COVID-19 pandemic are still eligible to apply. Funding priority may be given to programs that have not accessed other available grant funds.

  • I didn't receive a confirmation email. How do I know if I successfully submitted my application?

    If you did not receive a confirmation email within an hour of submitting your application, please check all junk and spam folders. If you do not have an email, please call (765) 942-1271.

  • My program is currently closed. Am I eligible to apply?

    If your program is temporarily closed and has served children at some point within the past 30 days, you may still apply. The application will ask you to note your planned reopening date.

  • Am I eligible for funding if my program has a provisional license?

    Yes, you are eligible if your program has a provisional license.

Timing

  • When will I be notified of award results?

    Awards will be announced on a rolling basis. If you applied for funds needed to reopen your program after a temporary closure due to a COVID-19 positive case, your application may be reviewed more quickly.

  • If awarded, how long will it take to receive funding?

    To receive your funding, you must submit documentation of your expenses to your local child care resource and referral agency. You will be provided with reporting templates to use for this, and your funding will be processed and distributed to you within 60 days of the reimbursement documentation being signed, unless otherwise specified.

  • Can we apply for expenses we've already incurred?

    No, we can only reimburse expenses incurred after approval of your application.

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