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UNITED WAY OF ST. JOSEPH COUNTY AND READY TO GROW ST. JOE ARE AWARDED $150,000 IN STATEWIDE CHILD CARE DESERTS COMPETITION
Early Learning Indiana announced the winners of the Child Care Deserts Competition, which is focused on addressing the fact that more than four of every 10 children in Indiana live in a child care desert. United Way of St. Joseph County, in partnership with Ready to Grow St. Joe, is one of thirteen organizations to receive grants of $75,000 to $150,000. We are thrilled to announce we have received one of the highest awards of $150,000 to increase access to high-quality child care for children ages 6 weeks to 6 years.
Child care deserts exist in each of Indiana’s 92 counties, according to a 2018 study conducted by the Indiana Business Research Center and Early Learning Indiana. A child care desert is a neighborhood, town or part of a city where there is no more than one child care seat for every three children. Statewide, 45.2% of children live in a child care desert. With the number of preschool-age children in Indiana expected to increase by more than 7% by 2025, the need to increase child care capacity is more urgent now than ever before.
With support from a 2014 grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., the Child Care Deserts Competition sought to engage organizations to provide innovative solutions to address this challenge. In October, Early Learning Indiana invited 19 finalists in the competition to submit formal applications for the opportunity. A review committee selected 13 winners for their submitted ideas that, combined, will create more than 900 new child care seats in communities across Indiana.
“As a result of this competition, many more Hoosier families will be able to experience the two-generational impact of early childhood education,” said Early Learning CEO and President Maureen Weber. “Parents who previously faced difficult decisions due to lack of access to child care can now remain in or rejoin the workforce while their children benefit from an enriching early learning experience.”
To see all awarded recipients, view here.