Statewide changes to the Child Care Resource & Referral System impact ECA and you

Effective October 1, 2019, families and early childhood professionals across Indiana will have different contacts for child care referrals, child care provider training, and coaching. In addition, child care resource and referral agencies will focus on four core services: parent education and referral support, program services, public awareness, and engagement and data collection and assessment.

Early Childhood Alliance continues as a resource for families and the early childhood community across northern Indiana:

Watch for details about ECA’s developing services. Follow ECA on Facebook and LinkedIn, and visit ECAlliance.org

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.

Family Mailing List

To receive a free bi-monthly family newsletter join our family mailing list

Child Care Services

Take a look at our step-by-step guide to finding child care to locate the best services in your area.

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.

Apply by visiting www.onmywayprek.org.

For more information

In Allen and DeKalb counties Contact PreK Project Manager Kim Fullove (kfullove@ecalliance.org)
In Elkhart, Kosciusko, Marshall, and St. Joseph counties Contact PreK Project Manager Anna Carter (acarter@ecalliance.org)

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.

Effective October 1, 2019, families and early childhood professionals across Indiana will have different contacts for childcare referrals, child care provider training, and coaching.

How will programs be impacted by the State’s changes?

  • They will now have a different contact for coaching, training or referrals as part of the Statewide Child Care Resource & Referral system.
  • Those in St. Joseph, Marshall, Elkhart, Kosciusko, LaGrange, and Steuben Counties will now be under Geminus
  • Those in Allen, DeKalb, Noble and Whitley counties will now be under Right Steps Child Development Centers

Is Early Childhood Alliance still around?

  • Yes, ECA will continue to be a resource for you, but our services will look different.
  • We are still a continued sponsor of the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CAFCP)
  • We are still providing early care and education at two Learning Centers
  • And we will still be offering a range of Family Support programs and services.

Who do I direct calls to?

  • Current provider calls (those that have general questions and not wanting to start up a childcare)
  • Families that are looking for care
    • Should still be able to contact Brighter Futures Call Center- 800-299-1627
  • Anyone interested in opening a childcare
    • can be directed to either Geminus- 844-685-1500 or Right Steps- 800-932-3302 (depending on what county they are in).

PTQ/Coaching Questions

  • Contact by email or phone for questions

Questions about ILEAD

  • Contact Geminus or Right Steps
  • Go onto ILEADhelp.org
  • Call Brighter Futures- 800-299-1627

CCDF (childcare vouchers) Questions

  • Allen, Elkhart, and St. Joseph County
    • Automated Health Systems (AHS) – 855-533-7342
  • Dekalb, Noble, LaGrange, Steuben, Kosciusko, Marshall, and Whitely
    • Brightpoint- 800-589-2264

What is it?

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.

Find Providers!

Find Your Paths to QUALITY Provider

The four levels of quality!

Paths to QUALITY Levels

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

More Information

Family Engagement Services

Includes a gift bag for baby and parent plus important messages from staff about the importance of talking with baby during all daily activities.

Provides books as part of the pediatric well child check-up. Staff encourages families to read children’s books aloud and engage in conversation with young children at every age.

Children participating
Families participating
Book Buddies sessions

logo bookbuddiesWhat 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.

More Information

In-home visits
Children impacted
Families impacted

Parents as Teachers Logo

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.

More Information