LAFAYETTE — The Child Care Resource Network, a Lafayette-based child care resource and referral (CCR&R) agency, is recruiting existing, unlicensed child care providers and brand new child care providers in Jasper, Pulaski, and White counties to participate in a cohort and become licensed.
White County United Way and its partners — Community Foundation of White County, Community Foundation of Pulaski County, and the Jasper Newton Foundation — awarded funds from the Community Relief Fund (CRF) to help build additional licensed child care capacity in the three-county area.
The CRF is made possible through a grant from Indiana United Ways’ Economic Relief Initiative in partnership with Lilly Endowment Inc.
There is a huge need for additional child care in these communities. The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted the supply of child care across the state and nation. Between the three counties, there are only 27 regulated early childhood programs.
According to the Indiana Early Learning Advisory Committee’s most recent data, 2,425 children are in need of some sort of child care service. Child care is a necessity for working parents and the employers who depend on the local workforce.
With this funding, The Child Care Resource Network hopes to recruit 10 currently operating, unlicensed child care programs or brand new child care programs to participate in a cohort with the goal to become licensed. In order to expedite the licensure process, participants of this cohort will be reimbursed for the costs of necessary drug screens, background checks, fingerprinting, and other on-boarding expenses that are required of all licensed child care programs in Indiana.
Participants will also receive high-quality supplies and resources to utilize in their program. Participants who may have other barriers to becoming licensed may be considered for additional funding to overcome those barriers.
“We are so thankful for this funding. It will allow our organization to quickly increase the child care capacity in Jasper, Pulaski and White counties using this learning cohort model which has proved successful in our past work,” said Grant Britzke, community engagement specialist with The Child Care Resource Network.
“The first step for someone opening a child care program should be to research licensure with their local child care resource and referral agency, “said Victoria Matney, program director of The Child Care Resource Network. “While child care licensure is not a requirement in Indiana, regulated child care programs must follow health and safety practices, have access to a multitude of free resources, and may qualify for grants and other funding for capacity building and COVID-19 support. If you have ever thought about opening a licensed child care, this is a great and rare opportunity.”
The Child Care Resource Network is the local Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) Agency serving 27 Indiana counties. As a program of Right Steps Child Development Centers funded by Indiana’s Office of Early Childhood and Out-Of-School Learning (OECOSL), The Child Care Resource Network provides services to families, child care programs, communities, and employers and works to build an infrastructure of high quality child care and early learning programs.