On February 2, 2022 the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration announced that it is accepting applications for a second round of Build, Learn, Grow Stabilization Grants, intended to support child care, early care and education and out-of-school time programs that have faced increased costs and challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Funds awarded in this round will cover five months of providers’ operating expenses, allowing them to stabilize their operations and invest in their businesses to build capacity for the future.
During the first round of stabilization grants, 2,777 providers across the state were awarded a total of $152 million. Providers have used their grant funds to increase wages for early childhood staff, create staff appreciation events and award bonuses, pay off facility mortgages, hire additional staff and offer professional development opportunities. Stabilization grants are part of multiple state-organized initiatives made possible through federal COVID-19 assistance to support programs, children and families. A full, detailed impact report on the $250 million deployed by Indiana’s Build, Learn, Grow child care relief and recovery efforts is available online.
“The first round of grants enabled providers to recover and strengthen their operations as they continue to face myriad challenges brought upon by the COVID-19 pandemic, including increased supply and material costs and staffing shortages,” said Nicole Norvell, director of FSSA’s Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning. “Our hope is that this second round will further stabilize our state’s early childhood industry which is critical to our whole state, allowing families to work and businesses and communities to thrive.”
Build, Learn, Grow Stabilization Grants are non-competitive and awarded on a rolling basis, but providers are encouraged to apply quickly to gain immediate access to funding. Providers can use grant funds to cover expenses across six categories:
Personnel costs related to hiring, compensating, training or retaining staff
Employee recruitment and retention to attract and retain staff
Facility fees, maintenance and improvements required to pay for, maintain or improve their facilities
COVID-19 safety-related needs to keep staff and children safe
Goods and services necessary to resume and strengthen operations
Mental health supports such as counseling for children and employees
Health and safety training
Grant amounts are calculated per child care site, based on each provider’s program type, average attendance, staffing costs, quality level and geography. Grant awards for this round will total approximately five months of a provider’s operating costs. A provider’s total amount of grant funding received through the Build, Learn, Grow Stabilization Grant program is capped at $850,000 per site for the duration of the program. Providers who received funding during the first round must complete an expenditure report before applying for a grant in Round 2.
Indiana announced the first round of Build, Learn, Grow Stabilization Grants on Oct. 6, 2021.
More than 3,600 child care providers across Indiana, serving more than 100,000 Hoosier children from birth to age 12, are eligible to apply. Programs (including licensed centers, child care homes, unlicensed registered ministries or legally-licensed exempt providers) must have been licensed or registered to operate in the state of Indiana on March 11, 2021, if not active in the CCDF program, or licensed or registered by Jan. 14, 2021, if active in the CCDF program. Programs must also be open and currently serving children and in good standing.
Providers can learn more about Build, Learn, Grow Stabilization Grants and apply at Stabilization.BuildLearnGrow.org. The site contains an introductory webinar, application walkthrough and FAQs. All applications must be received no later than April 15, 2022, though providers are encouraged to apply immediately.