Finding a high-quality early learning opportunity is essential for the majority of Indiana families. Parents want safe environments, with loving and trusted teachers, where they know their children are learning and where their whole family is welcomed. But accessing those opportunities is a challenge for too many families.
The facts show that Indiana’s families need more accessible and higher quality care. These are the goals of Early Learning Indiana’s Partnerships for Early Learners. The numbers below, compiled in partnership with Indiana Youth Institute and Indiana’s Office of Early Childhood and Out of School Learning, demonstrate that we must do better for our state’s youngest learners and their families.
Hoosier Children & Families
- There are more than 500,000 children in Indiana that are five years old or younger. Of those, nearly one in three live in families that make less than 130% of the federal poverty level.
- Sixty-six percent of young learners in this state live in families where all parents work. That means that they need a high-quality option to support their growth and education while their parents are on the job.
Indiana Families Have Unmet Child Care Needs
- Inadequate child care has forced one in four low-income families to turn down, change or quit a job in the past year.
- More than two in five infants (42%) are cared for by a non-parent on a weekly basis.
High-Quality Programs are Hard to Find
- Only 32% of Indiana’s known early learning seats are in high-quality programs, and 44% are in non-accredited, non-Paths to QUALITY™ settings.
- If all of Indiana’s high-quality programs were filled to capacity, only 16% of Hoosier children would be served from birth to age five.
Finding Good Care at an Affordable Price is a Significant Challenge
- A Hoosier family of three living at the poverty line pays over a third of its annual income for quality preschool, which averages $7,300 per year. Infant and toddler programs are more expensive.
- In 2014, 59,022 Hoosier children received Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) vouchers. But less than one third of those children attended a high-quality program that had achieved a Level 3 or 4 on Indiana’s Paths to QUALITY™.