Our History

For more than half a century, Early Childhood Alliance has provided programs and services to meet the early childhood education needs of children, first in Fort Wayne/Allen County, and today across northern Indiana.


Westside Neighborhood Center formed with a board of 24 members
United Way of Allen County Logo


Incorporated and joined the Fort Wayne Community Chest (United Way of Allen County)


Organization’s first day care center was built in a public housing development serving low income families


Name changed to Neighbors, Inc. to reflect the services, such as outreach and assistance to older adults, large families and young married students with pre-school chlidren


Constructed child care center in Riverhaven, deeded to community organization in 1999, named Blaising Community Center


Organization narrowed its focus to child care


Renamed Child Care of Allen County. Within three years, the organization operated four child care centers and received government funding for low-income families to attend.


Office moved to W. Wayne St.; assume responsibility for Old Fort YMCA Child Care, named Bernard Harrison Child Care Center


Approached by the State of Indiana to sponsor the food program for family child care homes, a service which continues today as the Child & Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)


Contracted with state social services (Title XX) to sponsor family day care


Child Care Resource and Referral (CCRR) service begins in 6 counties
Parents as Teachers Logo


Several new programs were added or expanded: Parents as Teachers, Professional Training, Mentoring and Corporate Consultation

Moved administrative offices to N. Wells St. (at YWCA)


Training department began offering classes for the Child Development Associate (CDA) certification, a new educational requirement for early childhood teachers


Child care center support services started in counties served by Dekko Foundation


Name changed to Early Childhood Alliance to reflect the broader range of services for children/families, early childhood professionals and corporations


Learning Centers achieved accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children


Downtown Learning Center was built after a $2 million campaign. The Learning Centers were then consolidated from six to three locations: north at Gethsemane Church, downtown on Wayne Street, and southeast on Turtle Creek Drive

Paths to QUALITYTM, a quality indicator system created by the Child Care and Early Education Partnership (which included ECA), was launched in Allen County; it expanded to five more counties in 2001


The Book Buddies literacy program launches


Better Baby Care and Inclusion Specialists were added to Child Care Resource and Referral staff


Child Care Resource and Referral (CCRR) service achieves national accreditation, Indiana’s first; Service region included Allen, DeKalb, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, and Whitley Counties


Downtown Learning Center achieves High Scope accreditation serving as a demonstration site for the HighScope curriculum

Our after-school program began at the Downtown Learning Center


Paths to QUALITYTM, created by a local partner that included ECA, is adopted by the State of Indiana as the quality rating and improvement system for Indiana child care programs


ECA partners with Parkview Health to manage Parkview’s child care center on Beacon Street


Four counties are added to the service delivery area when the state reduced the number of CCRR service regions from 11 to 9. The addition of Elkhart, Kosciusko, Marshall, and St. Joseph Counties expands ECA’s region to 10 counties.


Early Learning Indiana names ECA a strategic partner to strengthen the northern Indiana


Allen County is one of five Indiana counties chosen for a state-supported, pilot pre-k program, On My Way Pre-K; both of ECA’s Learning Centers participate, enrolling eligible 4-year-olds


A bright new logo and website to match launch


Administrative Offices move from 3320 Fairfield Ave to 3800 N Anthony Blvd, inside the Ivy Tech Coliseum Campus, to better serve clients across 10 northern Indiana counties


ECA Learning Centers become a site partner for the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile, providing access to free health care for children in need


New Learning Center support positions are created to enhance family and teacher support: Director of Early Learning Services, Manager of Birth to Three Services, and Family Advocate.