INDIANAPOLIS — An effort is underway to help Hoosier families pay for childcare.
Indiana’s Build, Learn, Grow scholarship program will provide funding for 50,000 families of essential workers, helping them pay for early care and out-of-school learning programs.
“Basically anywhere you go if you want good childcare and you want quality childcare you’re going to pay for it,” said Jessica Williams, a single mom from Indianapolis and an essential worker for the state. She explained that working remotely to care for her son isn’t an option.
“We know the cost of childcare can be a burden on many low income families or families that are just over the threshold for being able to access public subsidies that may be available. In Marion County for example, high-quality infant care can cost as much as $350 a week. For a preschooler you got a little bit of a break, but it's still over $250 a week and we know that is quite a burden on working families,” said Maureen Weber, President and CEO of Early Learning Indiana.
But now, some relief is on the way for families of essential workers. Indiana’s Build, Learn, Grow scholarship program is providing up to 80% of childcare costs for families in need. So far, about 4,000 families have received funding through the program. They goal is to help 50,000 families.
“There are few things in life that provide a two generational benefit and childcare is really one of those. It gives parents an opportunity to join or re-join the workforce, while at the same time, ensuring that their children have access to high-quality early learning services,” Weber said.
Scholarship amounts are based on income and can be used at any of the approximately 1,700 participating learning centers statewide.
“There are a lot of families out there that think oh we are right at the line and probably won't qualify, because I feel the same way. I'm right at that amount, but that's not necessarily the case. The important thing is just to apply and it takes less than two minutes of your time,” Williams said. “The money is there, use it.”