Hoosier parents may overlook child care reimbursements


Oct 18 — Local daycares are eager to help parents apply for Indiana’s Build, Learn, Grow scholarship program, which reimburses tuition even though parents earn a living wage.

“The minimum they could receive is 20%, and some are eligible for up to 80% of their children’s care until March,” said Lisa Erwin, director of the Presbyterian Preschool Ministry in Lebanon.

Federal money given to the state is intended to help parents of children up to 12 years of age who are employed in essential fields. Hint: Almost everyone is considered an essential worker, and only one parent must be “essential” for a family to qualify.

“Most professions can fall under the essential category, but parents should definitely talk to their caregivers, and they can explain how they can qualify,” said Nicole Norvel, director of the Indiana Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning.

Many Boone County child care providers participate in the program. Parents are encouraged to ask their child care providers to participate in the program if they are not already doing so. It takes a 30 minute commitment to watch a training video, and the daycare can then help parents apply for the scholarships and get paid directly.

“We have a lot of funding left, so parents shouldn’t hesitate to apply,” Norvel said.

The application is short and easy, and many daycares provide forms for their students and help parents complete them.

“I tried to push as much as possible,” Erwin said.

IBLG also has a grant program to help daycare centers that are struggling to maintain their daily activities due to difficulties related to COVID-19.

“I don’t think anyone was ready for the post-COVID issues,” Erwin said. “It’s pretty hard to keep a daycare open during COVID. Many child care providers have decided they just can’t come back.”

Independent day care centers have been particularly affected, she said.

As a result, the waiting list for the Presbyterian Preschool Ministry is longer than normal. “I think our county really needs more quality child care,” Erwin said. “We, like any other industry, are short-staffed. “

She wore an apron and gloves and did the dishes in the school cafeteria, while also acting as a cook due to staffing issues last Thursday afternoon.

Erwin applied for more than $ 90,000 in grants last year and received funds to help him purchase personal protective equipment, staff compensation, and mental health resources to support staff, children and their families. families. She is asking for staff grants to help offset tuition fees, Erwin said.

Federal grant money available to Hoosier early childhood care providers includes funds for upgrading facilities, cleaning supplies, classroom furniture and other needs, she said.

Any early childhood education or care provider who receives money from the Federal Children’s Development Fund is eligible for the state scholarship program and other grants, and the majority of establishments meet these criteria, Norvel said.

To find the tuition application and instructions for parents; guidelines on tuition fees for parents; and help with participation in daycare; visit the website at https://brighterfuturesindiana.org/scholarships/families.

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