The Indiana Family and Social Services’ Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning (OECOSL) is accepting applications from families in any Indiana county who may be eligible for grants for their children to receive high-quality, prekindergarten education through the On My Way Pre-K program for the 2020-2021 school year. The program, which started as a five-county pilot and then expanded to 20 counties in 2017, became statewide in 2019. Information about the program and the link to apply can be found at OnMyWayPreK.org.
In addition, OECOSL is introducing a new, easier-to-use online application called “Early Ed Connect,” which families will use to apply for both On My Way Pre-K and child care assistance provided in Indiana via the federal Child Care Development Fund or “CCDF.” Early Ed Connect offers the benefits of:
• Easy use via mobile devices, as well as on a computer or tablet
• Ability to apply for multiple children in one application
• Ability to upload supporting documents, including via photo from a mobile phone
• Ability to save application progress and complete it at a later time
• Notification of successful submission
• Spanish version is available
There is also assistance available for any issues related to the online application at http://EarlyEdConnectSupport.org.
For the 2020-2021 school year, a child is eligible for an On My Way Pre-K voucher if they live in any Indiana county, will be 4 years old by Aug. 1, 2020, and plan to start kindergarten in the 2021-2022 school year. An eligible child must live in a household with income below 127% of the federal poverty level,and have parents or guardians who are working, going to school or attending job training.
There will also be a limited number of vouchers available for a child who will be 4 years old by Aug. 1, 2020, lives in a household with income up to 185% of the federal poverty level and has:
· A parent/guardian who is working, attending job training or an educational program OR
· A parent/guardian who receives Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income benefits
On My Way Pre-K awards grants to 4-year-old children from low-income families so that they may have access to a high-quality pre-K program the year before they begin kindergarten. Families who receive a grant may use the grant at any approved On My Way Pre-K program throughout the state.
Once the family has met eligibility requirements and has been awarded a grant for their child, they may choose from any of the eligible, enrolled On My Way Pre-K programs. Families can search approved providers atwww.ChildCareFinder.IN.gov.
Approved pre-K programs may be located in a public or private school, licensed child care center, licensed home or registered ministry as long as that program meets the quality requirements and is registered as an On My Way Pre-K Provider. Families may choose from a program that is full-day or part-day, as well as from programs that end with the school year or continue through the summer. Families who need help finding an approved pre-K program can also call 800-299-1627 for assistance from an early learning referral specialist.
More than 11,500 Hoosier children have attended preschool through a grant from the On My Way Pre-K program since it began in 2015. OECOSL continues to partner with Purdue University on a longitudinal study of children who have participated in the program in an attempt to measure their success. OECOSL also updates the Indiana General Assembly every year on the program. The most recent report can be found here.
Families may call 800-299-1627 for assistance from an early learning referral specialist or for other questions about On My Way Pre-K.