In working toward their bold long-term goal for the community to move 10,000 families out of financial struggles and into stability the Success By 6 Council has announced an investment opportunity for the community.
The Success By 6 Impact Council promotes healthy early childhood development to ensure children enter school ready to succeed. A core focus is the availability and affordability of high-quality child care that will positively impact the measurements for “kindergarten readiness” and lay the foundation to prepare children for lifelong learning.
“Research shows that a child’s brain develops more rapidly in the first five years than in any other time in their life,” said Natalie Pugh with Chances and Services for Youth and Co-Chair of the Success By 6 Council. “This means that the quality of care a child receives in their early years significantly influences their long-term growth and development.”
In 2018, just 16% of children ages birth to 5 in the Wabash Valley were enrolled in high quality child care or early education programs. This is far behind the state of Indiana average of 37%.
An estimated half of Hoosier children arrive in kindergarten lacking basic academic and behavioral skills.
“If more children had the skills and abilities they need to be successful in school when they started kindergarten, they would have a greater opportunity to achieve success in high school and beyond,” Pugh continued. “Our council understands that to impact generational poverty, we must give children the opportunity to change their future and really the future of our workforce.”
Quality of child care is evaluated in Indiana by the state implemented Paths to QUALITY™ program. A comparable ExceleRate program exists in Illinois. The programs use a 1 through 4 rating scale wherein each level builds on the foundation of the previous. Quality childcare typical includes those facilities rated at levels 3 or 4.
The United Way’s Success By 6 Impact Council announced today it will make available up to $100,000 in funding through a request for proposal grant process. The two-year grant opportunity called the Quality Childcare Initiative is available to child care sites that will use the funding to affect one or both of the following objectives:
- Increase regulated capacity in an existing Levels 3 or 4 Paths to QUALITY or ExceleRate Illinois program; or
- Attain Level 3 or 4 in Paths to QUALITY or ExceleRate Illinois for an existing program.
A similar community investment completed in 2017-2019 showed great results, creating 126 new and permanent openings at Level 3 or 4 rated childcare facilities. Pugh says the council seeks to replicate that success with this new grant offering.
Those interested in applying for this funding opportunity can find the full request for proposal at: uwwv.org/funding. Letters of intent, the first step in the application process, are due September 25th. Both of these councils will have additional investment opportunities that will be released for funding applications later this fall.