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Early Learning Indiana and Volunteers of America Ohio & Indiana partner to expand access to high-quality early care and education for vulnerable families

Early Head Start

75 new Early Head Start seats will serve at-risk and low-income children and families in Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS (April 13, 2021) – Early Learning Indiana, in partnership with Volunteers of America Ohio & Indiana (VOAOHIN), announced today the expansion of Early Head Start (EHS) services within Marion County to further provide two-generational, high-quality early care and education services to low-income and at-risk families.

The expansion is made possible by a $1.7 million renewable grant Early Learning Indiana received from the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services Administration for Families and Children. Of the 62 recipients nationwide, Early Learning Indiana is the only organization in Indiana to receive an Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership and Expansion grant.

“Early Head Start serves a critical need for families and children, especially here in Marion County,” said Early Learning Indiana President and CEO Maureen Weber. “The availability of high-quality child care and family services for our city’s most at-risk and low-income families allows families to get on their feet and supports their long-term success. We’re honored to be part of this work, and this expansion grant will make a tremendous impact on Indianapolis children and families.” 

The grant will allow Early Learning Indiana to expand its EHS seats from 88 at three locations to 163 across six Marion County locations. Early Learning Indiana will offer EHS seats in four infant and toddler classrooms at its Day Early Learning at Eastern Star Church location on the east side of Indianapolis and expand infant and toddler care by 28 seats at Day Early Learning at Park 100 in Pike Township.

In partnership with VOAOHIN, 15 new EHS seats will serve infants and toddlers at VOAOHIN’s Fresh Start residential treatment center where mothers receive treatment for substance use disorder as well as mental health support, parenting skills development and other services. Children at the Fresh Start center will receive trauma-informed care infused with developmentally appropriate and evidenced-based early education. Mothers who complete the Fresh Start program will be able to seek continuing EHS care and services for their children and family through Early Learning Indiana’s EHS seats at other locations.

“Volunteers of America is incredibly grateful to partner with Early Learning Indiana to bring invaluable child care services to families and children who would not otherwise have access to early intervention services,” said Volunteers of America Ohio & Indiana President and CEO John R. von Arx III. “The ability to provide high-quality, full-time child care and intensive development education to Fresh Start families, while mothers are recovering and healing from substance use disorder, will help set up entire families for success and ensure young children thrive.”

EHS programs promote the physical, cognitive, social and emotional development of infants and toddlers through safe and developmentally enriching caregiving. Programs support families in their role as primary caregivers and teachers of their children. They also assist families in meeting their own personal goals and achieving self-sufficiency across a wide variety of domains, such as housing stability, continued education and financial security.

EHS programs recruit families with the greatest need. Eligibility is generally based on family income being at or below the poverty level. Children in foster care, children experiencing homelessness and children from families receiving public assistance are eligible regardless of income.

Early Learning Indiana will begin serving additional EHS families through the expansion grant this summer.

Early Learning Indiana is Indiana’s oldest and largest early childhood education nonprofit, providing leadership, advocacy, and early childhood education services to continually improve the early learning landscape in Indiana. Today, Early Learning Indiana operates eight high-quality Day Early Learning centers, a network of premier community-based lab schools used to advance the science of early learning, train the next generation of teachers and leaders, and instill essential skills in the children we serve. Through regional and statewide programs, the organization enables early learning providers to build capacity, transform operations and improve learning outcomes. Learn more at EarlyLearningIndiana.org.

About Volunteers of America Ohio & Indiana
Volunteers of America is a national, faith-based nonprofit organization dedicated to helping those in need live healthy, safe, and productive lives. Through thousands of human services programs, including housing and healthcare services, Volunteers of America helps nearly 1.5 million people across the country and more than 15,000 in Ohio and Indiana.

Since 1896, our ministry of service has supported and empowered America’s most vulnerable groups including low-income seniors, veterans, homeless individuals and families, men and women returning home after incarceration, homeless individuals and families, and those recovering from addictions. Visit www.voaohin.org for more information.

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