Early Childhood Alliance is committed to helping families nurture their children’s development to reach each child’s potential. Among our family services are assistance for families looking for quality child care, quality early care and education, and parent engagement programs.
On My Way Pre-K awards grants to 4-year-olds from low-income families so that they may have access to a high-quality pre-K program the year before they begin kindergarten. Families who receive a grant may use the grant at any approved On My Way Pre-K program.
Approved On My Way Pre-K programs may be located in a public or private school, licensed child care center, licensed home or registered ministry as long as that program meets the quality requirements and is registered as an On My Way Pre-K provider. Families may choose from a program that is full or part-day, as well as from programs that end with the school year or continue through the summer.
Families who need help finding an approved pre-K program can click on the search button to the right for a list of approved providers by county or call 800-299-1627 for personal assistance from an early learning referral specialist.
81% of those in Levels 3 & 4
What is Child Care Resource and Referral (CCRR)?
Child Care Resource and Referral (CCRR) is a tool for families looking for child care. ECA, one of nine CCRR agencies across the state*, helps Families by providing FREE child care referrals tailored to each family’s individual needs. Visit our Find Child Care page to receive information about the types of child care available in Indiana and the characteristics of a quality program.
*We serve Allen, DeKalb, Elkhart, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Marshall, Noble, St. Joseph, Steuben and Whitley Counties.
How We Can Help?
CCRR provides profiles of early care and education providers based on your family’s needs along with extensive on-line parent resources to help you select a quality program. This service is provided at no charge to parents, and all information that you provide is confidential.
Provider profiles indicate if the provider participates in Indiana’s Paths to QUALITY program, a statewide voluntary, quality rating and improvement system designed to help you identify and select the best early care and education program for your child.
To begin your search for quality child care providers, visit our Find Child Care page.
Birth to Age 3
The Better Baby Care Initiative is designed to impact families of infants and toddlers and their child care provider. Better Baby Care focuses on:
- Helping parents understand how to select and monitor the quality of care for their infants and toddlers.
- Ensuring that infant/toddler providers have specialized training in child development and family support.
- Providing an infant/toddler specialist to work with providers and parents.
Children with special needs
The Indiana Partnership for Inclusive Child Care (IPICC) project is designed to impact the families of children with special needs and their early care and education providers. IPICC focuses on:
- Helping families understand how to select and monitor the quality of care for their child(ren) with special needs
- Ensuring that providers have specialized training in caring for children with special needs
- Offering families links to resources for special needs in their community
For more information on IPICC, contact our Inclusion Specialist.
School-age (SA) child care programs occur during out-of-school time, youth development programming that occurs beyond the traditional school day, including before school, after school, holidays, weekends and summers. Programs are structured and offer a wide range of learning and enrichment activities that promote the academic, physical, emotional and social development of all children and youth (Indiana Afterschool Network).
Types of Programs
Here is a list of common types of school-age (SA) programs:
|Licensed Child Care Centers||Most licensed centers provide SA care.|
|Unlicensed Registered Ministries||A growing number of churches/religious organizations offer SA care.|
|Licensed Family Child Care Homes
Licensed Exempt Child Care Homes
|Providers who care for children in a home-setting.|
|Schools||Either school-sponsored or 3rd party sponsored SA care at school.|
|Recreation Department||Community Recreation or Parks Departments.|
|Youth Services Agencies||Youth oriented groups that provide some form of SA care.|
Selecting High-Quality Programs for Your Child
Finding care for your school-age child that meets your standards of quality can be complicated, time-consuming and sometimes overwhelming. The Indiana Afterschool Standards will help you understand the essential elements of high quality school-age programs for Indiana including; human relationships, indoor and outdoor environments, programming and activities, safety, health and nutrition, and administration, also Indiana rules and regulations.
Paths to QUALITYTM is Indiana’s statewide quality rating and improvement system for early care and education programs. It uses four levels of standards, each one building on the previous one. Early education providers start at Level 1 and work towards national accreditation at the highest level, Level 4, for significant quality improvements at every level.
The four levels of quality!
What does it do?
- Assesses the quality of early childhood care and education within a program
- Helps professionals improve the quality of their program through professional development opportunities, one-on-one coaching relationships, and other free resources
- Gives families an easy-to-recognize tool for selecting a child care program, much like a star rating system for restaurants or hotels
- Makes quality programs affordable for families through tiered Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) reimbursement based on Paths to QUALITY level
- Recognizes and awards professionals for quality improvement efforts
- Provides an accountability measure for funding
- Aligns State licensing, quality and child care subsidies across child care, preschool, and school-age programs
How does Paths to QUALITY help my child?
Paths to QUALITY indicates quality care from better-trained providers who offer:
- Safe, nurturing environments
- Proper adult/child ratios
- Planned activities that support learning
- Increased opportunities for children to receive warm, nurturing, stimulating care they need for the best development
How does Paths to QUALITY help me?
- It’s a tool that families can use when searching for a child care program
- It helps families learn the importance of quality child care
How do I know if a provider participates in Paths to QUALITY?
When choosing child care, search for programs that voluntarily participate in Paths to QUALITY. Participation demonstrates a commitment to providing quality care for children.
Use these methods to confirm a program’s participation in Paths to QUALITY:
- Look for a display of a decal and/or certificate
- Look for a sign indicating participation
- Visit Child Care Indiana
- Contact us at 800-423-1498
What is Book Buddies?
Often parents of young children wonder where to start and what to do to help their child develop the skills needed to be ready to attend and succeed in school, that’s where Book Buddies comes in. Book Buddies is an early learning program for parents and caregivers.
At each session you’ll find
- A group setting with stories, songs and other learning activities for children accompanied by their parents or caregivers
- Demonstrations of ways to teach children the skills they need before entering kindergarten
- Children playing with others, practicing problem-solving skills, and learning important life skills, such as sharing and communicating
- Materials that parents can use at home to extend learning (books, preschool materials, and activity pages)
Playing with new friends, participating in rich literacy experiences, and enjoying a brand new book all add a “bright spot” to your child’s day!
Where and When does Book Buddies Meet?
Book Buddies meets in various locations across ECA’s service area. Check the Family Event Calendar for current dates and locations.
Supporting parents in their roles as their child’s first teacher, Early Childhood Alliance provides information, support and encouragement through the Parents as Teachers program (PAT). Families receive information and support in helping children develop the skills that lead to school readiness. Children involved in PAT have often shown significant advancement in language, problem solving, and social development.
PAT services include
- Interactive, one-on-one visits by a certified parent educator to share age-appropriate child development information.
- Periodic screening for early identification of developmental delays and a review of a child’s developmental progress.
- Periodic hearing screenings for children 0-3 years of age
- Assistance in identifying and connecting with needed resources.
This free program is designed for parents of children, prenatal through kindergarten.