— Indiana child care providers are being offered additional money if they
show improvement in the quality of their care for low-income children.
The Family and
Social Services Administration says that for the first time a funding
boost of up to 30 percent will go to providers meeting higher health,
safety and program standards.
The funding goes
to child care providers accepting vouchers from the federal Child Care
Development Fund. The reimbursement rates announced Monday will depend on
where providers rank in the state's voluntary Paths to Quality system,
which grades them on a four-tiered scale.
hope it will improve the overall quality of day care in Indiana, where at
least 31 children have died in day cares since 2009, The Indianapolis Star
While many day
cares in the state aren't regulated, those that participate in Paths to
Quality must meet higher health, safety and program standards. Those that
receive federal money are subject to some standards, but Paths to
Quality's four levels of care set the bar even higher.
Indiana children from 22,000 families receive child care subsidies from
the federal government, the state agency said. The new rates go into
effect May 11.
"I think that it
will help families be able to have a real choice when choosing child
care," said Mindy Bennett, director of programs for Child Care Answers.
"It will help families be able to choose higher-rated care and not have to
worry about having a difference between what the voucher is and the actual
cost of care."
four-tier system, operators on the first level would receive the base
reimbursement and providers at levels 2, 3 and 4 would receive 10 percent,
20 percent and 30 percent more, respectively.
rates vary based on a number of factors, including location, type of
facility and age of the child.
In Marion County,
the new rates mean a licensed day care center with the state's highest
rating will receive $67 more a week, or more than $3,400 more per year, to
care for a single infant. A highest-rated licensed center caring for an
infant in Hamilton County will receive $87 a week, or more than $4,500 a
administrator for FSSA's Bureau of Child Care, said the new process also
encourages providers to improve the quality of care they provide.