Indianapolis-based Early Learning Indiana has released the results of a study analyzing the state of childcare access. Among the findings, three out of four Hoosier children do not have adequate access to high-quality early care and learning opportunities.

The study, “Closing the Gap: An Assessment of Indiana’s Early Learning Opportunities,” is based on the organization’s Early Learning Access Index methodology, which is designed to help quality and quantify childcare access in the state.

The study found the counties with the highest access to high-quality childcare are Tipton, Vanderburgh, Marion, Posey, and Delaware counties. Conversely, the lowest-access counties are Warren, Fountain, Switzerland, Rush and Randolph counties.

Additionally, existing childcare capacity in more than two-thirds of Indiana counties can serve fewer than half the children ages 0-5 who need care, according to the study. Fourteen counties were also found to have no high-quality infant or toddler care.

“The challenge is great, but the opportunity to build a system of more equitable access for Hoosier children is even greater,” said Maureen Weber, chief executive officer of Early Learning Indiana. “As communities invest federal stimulus dollars to continue to accelerate their economies, they can use this Closing the Gap report as a guide for prioritizing their efforts to improve access.” 

Early Learning Indiana says it will provide up to $100,000 in grants to help organizations close the childcare access gap in their respective communities. The funding is being supported by Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc.

The deadline to apply for grant funding is October 8. You can learn more about the grants by clicking here.

You can view the full Closing the Gap study by clicking here.