BLOOMINGTON – Early Learning Indiana today awarded a $100,000 grant to Monroe County United Ministries in Monroe County as part of the $1.7 million Closing the Gap grant fund to address local child care access issues, increasing capacity and quality, and ensuring affordability and choice for families.
The grant fund was established after Early Learning Indiana released “Closing the Gap: An Assessment of Indiana’s Early Learning Opportunities” in August 2021. The report shed light on the child care access issues facing Indiana families.
“The challenge is great, but the opportunity to build a system of more equitable access for Hoosier children is even greater,” said Maureen Weber, president, and CEO of Early Learning Indiana. “Our Closing the Gap grant recipients have put together collaborative solutions to solve some of the greatest barriers to access to high-quality early learning in their communities, and we are proud to help kick start their work.”
Grant recipients submitted applications outlining how they would address their community’s biggest child care access issues. Monroe County United Ministries will use its funds to build two additional toddler-age classrooms at Compass Early Learning Center.
According to Katie Broadfoot, executive director at Monroe County United Ministries, “Monroe County is facing a childcare crisis. It’s a crisis of scarcity, quality, and affordability. There are only enough spots in childcare programs for 62.3% of infants and toddlers. Compass Early Learning Center is the only licensed, high-quality center in Monroe County to provide its own sliding fee scale in addition to federal and state assistance programs.”
Early Learning Indiana’s Closing the Gap report centered around the Early Learning Access Index, which helped qualify and quantify child care access throughout the state, assessing the additional factors of quality, affordability, and choice as well.
Notable findings of the report included:
- The statewide Early Learning Access Index is 60.6 out of 100, equaling moderate access to early learning and care statewide. In more than two-thirds of Indiana counties, existing child care capacity can serve fewer than half the children ages 0-5 who need care.
- Fourteen counties have no high-quality infant/toddler care.
The 18 grant recipients represent 18 unique counties in Indiana. In total, their proposals will create 926 new child care seats for 269 infants and toddlers and 657 preschool and pre-K children.
View a PDF of awardees, their locations, and project descriptions here.
The funding was made possible through a 2019 grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to support Early Learning Indiana’s statewide work to improve access to high-quality early learning programs in Indiana.
About Monroe County United Ministries (MCUM)
MCUM serves Monroe County’s low-income population through two programs: Compass Early Learning Center (Compass) and the Self-Sufficiency Center (SSC). Compass offers low-cost, high-quality childcare while the SSC provides basic needs assistance and long-term asset-building support. MCUM creates lasting solutions to economic, educational, and social injustice in our community through quality programs, collaboration, and innovation.
About Early Learning Indiana
Early Learning Indiana is Indiana’s oldest and largest early childhood education nonprofit, providing leadership, advocacy, and early childhood education services to continually improve the early learning landscape in Indiana. Today, Early Learning Indiana operates 10 high-quality Day Early Learning Centers, a network of premier community-based schools used to advance the science of early learning, train the next generation of teachers and leaders, and instill essential skills in the children we serve. Through regional and statewide programs, the organization enables early learning providers to build capacity, transform operations and improve learning outcomes. Learn more at EarlyLearningIndiana.org.