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New report from Early Learning Indiana analyzes statewide early learning access and community impact

Supporting $100,000 grants will help communities close their child care gaps

INDIANAPOLIS (Aug. 17, 2021) — A new and comprehensive report is helping Early Learning Indiana analyze the state of child care access in Indiana and seek solutions to address crucial local needs.

Through development of “Closing the Gap: An Assessment of Indiana’s Early Learning Opportunities”, Early Learning Indiana aims to show the relationship between the various factors contributing to early learning access across Indiana and provide communities with a picture of their local early learning supply and demand gaps. Community stakeholders, leaders and early care providers can use the report to equip themselves with the data needed to make informed and strategic choices when it comes to expanding access to high-quality child care in their communities.

“The challenge is great, but the opportunity to build a system of more equitable access for Hoosier children is even greater,” said Maureen Weber, president and CEO of Early Learning Indiana. “As communities invest federal stimulus dollars to continue to accelerate their economies, they can use this Closing the Gap report as a guide for prioritizing their efforts to improve access.” 

The report centers around Early Learning Indiana’s new Early Learning Access Index methodology, which helps qualify and quantify child care access throughout the state. Available child care is no longer viewed as simply a supply-and-demand equation; the Index assesses the additional factors of quality, affordability and choice as well.

Notable findings of the report include:

  • The statewide Early Learning Access Index is 60.6 out of 100, equaling moderate access to early learning and care statewide​.
  • The highest access counties are Tipton (72.4), Vanderburgh (71.8), Marion (71.5), Posey (70.1) and Delaware (67.8).​
  • The lowest access counties are Warren (23.8), Fountain (27.9), Switzerland (27.9), Rush (30.8) and Randolph (33.0).
  • When it comes to high-quality care, 3 out of 4 Hoosier children do not have adequate access to high-quality early care and learning opportunities. Marion County has the highest rate of high-quality capacity (48%), and Switzerland county has the lowest rate (0%).
  • In more than two-thirds of Indiana counties, existing child care capacity can serve fewer than half the children ages 0-5 who need care.
  • 14 counties have no high-quality infant/toddler care.

To improve families’ access to care and jump start local solutions, Early Learning Indiana, with generous support from Lilly Endowment Inc., announced today the availability of supporting grants of up to $100,000 for organizations to close the gap in their communities. Eligible organizations can use these capacity-building grants to increase access to high-quality early learning opportunities.

Early Learning Indiana is hosting informational webinars on Aug. 24 and Aug. 25 for organizations to learn more about Closing the Gap grants. The deadline to apply is Oct. 8

Find the link for the webinars and learn more about the Closing the Gap grant fund here.

About Early Learning Indiana
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

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