Early Learning Indiana has announced a $15.7 million grant from the Lilly Endowment to help offset COVID-related health- and safety-related expenses incurred by early-learning childcare providers in the state.
Through its Come Back Stronger Fund, the organization will regrant the funds to help licensed and registered childcare centers, ministries, and home childcare providers in Indiana operate safely, with a focus on enhancing their sanitation practices, altering their physical space to support social distancing, adopting new staffing models that minimize the chance of exposure to the virus, and purchasing personalized sets of toys and materials so as to limit cross-contamination among children. In addition to funding, technical assistance will be provided to help facilities develop strategies that offer high-quality early care and education programming to children and families during the crisis.
"In the best of times, early-learning providers operate on razor-thin margins due to the imbalance between the cost of providing care and families' ability to afford it," said Early Learning Indiana CEO Maureen Weber. "As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the path forward is even more precarious with added safety-related expenses and uncertainty around enrollment and staffing. This funding will help providers make necessary operational changes to deliver safe and high-quality early learning services that are critical for Hoosier families and the state’s economic recovery."
(Photo credit: Early Learning Indiana)