State Launches $540 Million Early Childhood Grant Program

Inside INdiana Business is reporting that the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration has launched a $540 million grant program to support early childhood education providers facing challenges caused by the pandemic. The administration says the Build, Learn, Grow Stabilization grants will help providers cover operating expenses and invest in their future.

Eligible childcare, early care and education, and out-of-school time programs will be able to apply for the grants, which are being made possible through American Rescue Plan Act funding the state has received.

The FSSA says the funds will be distributed across at least two grant rounds, with the first round covering operating expenses for providers for three months. Recipients will be able to use the funds to cover personnel costs, employee recruitment and retention, facility fees such as rent, mortgages or utilities, facility maintenance and improvements, business supports such as new software, COVID-19 safety-related needs, and mental health supports.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been extremely challenging to the early education industry, as providers have worked to remain open to safely serve children, while many families have chosen to keep children at home or with family which impacts providers’ revenue,” said Nicole Norvell, director of the FSSA’s Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning. “In addition to enrollment challenges, providers continue to grapple with increased supply and material costs as well as staffing shortages.”

The FSSA says more than 3,600 providers throughout the state will be eligible to apply. Programs must have been licensed or registered to operate in the state as of March 11, 2021 and must be open and currently serving children, and in good standing to be eligible.

The funding amounts will be calculated based on each provider’s program type, average attendance, staffing costs, quality level and geography. The total amount each provider can receive will be capped at $500,000 per site.

You can learn more about the Build, Learn, Grow Stabilization grants by clicking here.