Northeastern Wayne Schools has received $98,000 as part of Indiana’s latest child care grants. 

Northeastern’s grant was part of $6.9 million in employer-sponsored child care funding announced Jan. 31 by Indiana Family and Social Services Administration’s Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning. That funding raised the state’s total investment to $25 million. 

Northeastern was one of 22 businesses, community groups and school corporations selected for the second round of awards. Nearby Randolph Eastern Schools in Union City received $100,000. 

Rebecca Harrell**,** director of Northeastern’s Early Learning Center and the district’s special education coordinator, said the grant will provide a designated number of childcare seats for Northeastern teachers and staff.  

Employees will be able to take their kids, ranging from infants to school-age, to a Richmond center that hasn’t yet opened, for the 2024-2025 school year. 

Harrell said the funds will help retain staff and make the district’s positions more marketable. She is hopeful the state funding might continue for future years. 

Harrell said Northeastern eventually would like to offer an on-campus child care center, but facilities are not yet available. 

Northeastern currently offers preschool for ages 3 and 4, but it is at capacity and has a “huge” wait list, Harrell said. 

Richmond Family YMCA currently runs an after-school program at Northeastern Elementary for young Knights. 

A few weeks ago, SugarCreek Packing in Cambridge City received $99,840 for the child care center it offers at Western Wayne Elementary School in partnership with Richmond Family YMCA and Western Wayne Schools. Those seats are available for children of SugarCreek and WWS employees as well as the community at large.

“By having more child care options, Hoosiers are provided the flexibility to enter and stay in the workforce and attain a better quality of life for their families,” Gov. Eric Holcomb said in a news release. “The State is pleased to partner with businesses to provide more opportunities for their workforce, leading to a sustainable future for Indiana families.”

The child care initiative, part of Holcomb’s 2023 Next Level Agenda, is mobilizing employers and communities to create or expand child care offerings that address the needs of working Hoosiers.

“Thousands of families will benefit from affordable, convenient access to child care, and nearly 100 businesses, community groups and schools will benefit from a workforce that doesn’t have to worry about where they’re going to find it,” said Courtney Penn, OECOSL director. “But most importantly, children will benefit from quality early education that will set them up for success in K-12 and beyond.”

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A version of this article appeared in the February 7 2024 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Millicent Martin Emery is a reporter and editor for the Western Wayne News.