“It takes a village to raise a child.”
It’s likely that you’ve heard this adage once or twice – especially if you have a young child of your own. However, not every parent or guardian has the same support system or “village” to help them. Luckily, there are resources available for parents in Wayne County to help ensure that children grow and develop into healthy, functioning members of society.
Birth to Five
Birth to Five is a non-profit organization that offers free services for families with young children. These services include personalized home visits, developmental screenings, group events, and more.
One such service are the personalized home visits that Birth to Five provides, which gives information on milestones for each age from and examples of activities in order to meet said milestones. They empower parents to understand the milestones that children need to meet and give the tools to do so.
Birth to Five also helps connect families with programs and agencies to help create a support network and offers playgroups for children.
Early Childhood Coalition
The Early Childhood Coalition for Wayne County Kids is a coalition of Forward Wayne County. It brings together any organization or person who works with, supports, cares about young children. They work to raise awareness about the difference that child care, preschool and/or pre-K can make in a child’s life.
In addition, they are helping Forward Wayne County’s Employability Coalition promote early childhood careers. There are many job openings for early childhood workers in Wayne County. And wages increase when a worker has the child development associate credential.
The Early Childhood Coalition shares information publicly on their Facebook page. From highlighting child-centric events to resources for assistance, the ECC is an excellent resource for all parents!
Brighter Futures Indiana
While not centered in Wayne County, Brighter Futures Indiana is another excellent resource for families with children. Brighter Futures believes that a parent is a child’s first and best teacher, and provides programs and resources to aid parents.
On their website, parents can also find pages for a variety of subjects, including how to select the best childcare facility or how to find financial support. Brighter Futures is also involved with Indiana’s Build, Learn, Grow program. This program creates new learning opportunities through building child care infrastructure. Beyond these resources, their blog is also full of enriching activities for children.
The Paths to QUALITY (PTQ) program is another program that Brighter Futures facilitates. This program assists child care professionals in creating high quality learning environments with tools and support. In turn, the Indiana Early Learning Advisory Committee uses Paths to QUALITY to rate early education facilities around the state. The PTQ program provides markers by which these early education programs can be scored – Levels 1 through 4. The higher the number, the more high-quality the facility.
Indiana Early Learning Advisory Committee
Like the previous organization, the Indiana Early Learning Advisory Committee (ELAC) is not based in Wayne County. Their data and resources, however, are available for anyone to utilize.
The ELAC takes a broader look at early childhood development across Indiana. Visitors to their site can find resources on building strong developmental foundations and much more. ELAC also recently published a study on the effects of COVID-19 on Indiana’s child care system, which many facilities and families are still dealing with today.
Child Care/Early Learning Centers
When thinking of resources for early childhood development, there is no replacement for a child care facility itself. Wayne County has 33 licensed groups dedicated to serving our children. Twelve of those are Level 3 or Level 4 on the PTQ scale, meaning that they are denoted as high quality.
Community Action of East Central Indiana (CAECI) offers two such programs. Early Head Start and Head Start are free programs designed to assist families below 100% of the federal poverty guidelines with child development.
Other examples of child care or early learning facilities around the county include:
- Grace Childcare in Centerville
- Amazing Angels Child Care Ministry in Hagerstown
- Cambridge City YMCA
- Northeastern Early Learning Center in Fountain City
- All God’s Children Daycare in Richmond
While raising a child is no easy task, Wayne County residents have countless options for aid. These organizations (and many more) help children reach their maximum potential and grow into the leaders of tomorrow.