Community Foundation of Wabash County Receives ARPA Grant to Make Childcare More Affordable

Community Foundation of Wabash County Receives ARPA Grant to Make Childcare More Affordable Main Photo

2 Apr 2024

Alerts, News

Release courtesy of Community Foundation of Wabash County

WABASH COUNTY, IN - Indiana’s Family Social Services Administration awarded the Community Foundation of Wabash County a grant for $750,000 to help employers in Wabash County make childcare more affordable for their employees. Employees who work for a company that belongs to Manchester Alive or Grow Wabash County can apply for discounted rates at licensed childcare centers, registered childcare ministries, or licensed home childcare programs as long as the grant lasts.

In a 2020 study conducted by Indiana University, researchers show that employees with children under five are absent from work more than 13 days per year due to unstable childcare. According to Tenille Zartman, President and CEO of Grow Wabash County, “Childcare is an economic and a business issue. Employers depend on it to attract and maintain a workforce. Parents depend on it to get to work. And children depend on the lifetime benefits of early education, like good brain development, and social and emotional health benefits.”

All many families know childcare is expensive. Depending on the childcare program, childcare costs about the same as a year at a state university as it does to send them to quality rated childcare. In many cases, women leave the workforce to care for children under five at home. That has a cost, too. The parent who stays at home gets behind in his or her power to command a good wage and misses out on trainings, promotions, bonuses, increases, and social security contributions. The family with only one income struggles to maintain a property, make purchases, attend to health issues, and save for their family.

Julie Garber, Vice President for Strategic Initiatives of the Community Foundation, talks about the impact of this grant on keeping costs of childcare low for working families: “This generous grant will mean that low- to moderate-income families with children currently in childcare or who are seeking a seat in childcare, will pay no more than 10% of their household income per child for childcare for the coming year. The average cost of childcare is about $10,000 annually. If a family of four has an income of $60,000, the family will pay $6,000 and the grant will pick up the remainder. This is a game changer for employers and employees.”

Eligible families must 
1.    Be employed by a member business of Grow Wabash County or Manchester Alive
2.    Currently enroll or plan to enroll a child or children in a licensed childcare center, ministry, or home in Wabash County.
3.    Contribute 10% of household income (adjusted gross income from line 11 of the family’s 1040 federal tax return) to childcare expense.
4.    Have a household income that is less than 300% of the federal poverty level. That is less than $93,000 for a family of four.
5.    Not be participating in the state voucher program for early childhood education.

Heather Cruz, President and CEO of Manchester Alive, encourages families to check their eligibility with their employer and enroll in the discount program with their childcare provider. “The Employer-sponsored Child Care Fund Grant brings to light the strong collaboration in Wabash County linking work, families, education, and wellbeing into one initiative. Wabash County is a leader in the region in creative ways to increase childcare capacity, quality, accessibility, and affordability. Manchester Alive is excited to be part of this effort.” 

Childcare discounts are awarded through local childcare centers, ministries, and homes that are licensed by the State of Indiana. Grants are available on a first come, first served basis and will discount fees for up to 12 months of enrollment. Enrollment will begin in April. Families should contact their employer to know if they are eligible to participate. 

Further details about the program, eligibility requirements and application process can be found on the Grow Wabash County website here


Press Contact

Community Foundation of Wabash County 
Julie Garber


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