Early Learning Grants Awarded In 16 Counties

Jun 6, 2018
(Elle Moxley/StateImpact Indiana)

The state is giving different early learning providers across Indiana more funding as a part of efforts to improve quality and access to preschool programs.

The Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) announced the recipients of more than $1.5 million dollars in grant money this week, for expanding the capacity of early learning across the state.

Opioid Treatment Access Expanding In Indiana

Feb 9, 2018

Hoosiers in need of addiction treatment have a couple new resources now. The Family and Social Services Administration or FSSA, announced this week, efforts to increase access to treatment in the state with the help of federal funds.

Lance Cheung / USDA

 Approximately 46 million people nationally receive money from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.  

Of the 871,000 Indiana residents who use SNAP, 7-percent – about 65,000 people -- are at risk of losing their SNAP benefits in October if they do not find a job or enter a work training program.

Jeanne Christine / https://www.flickr.com/photos/jeannechristine/4677059470

Indiana’s pre-k pilot program launches in four of the five participating counties in January. But many leaders in those counties say they’re still finalizing the details – crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s of fundraising, getting providers up to speed and children into the classrooms.

The clock is ticking. A little less than a month remains until a new flock of learners makes their way into pre-k classrooms in Allen, Lake, Marion and Vanderburgh counties.

State Now Taking Applications For Its Pre-K Pilot

Nov 12, 2014
Nicole Mays / flickr.com/photos/mnicolem/295019550

Indiana’s Family and Social Services Administration began accepting applications Wednesday from providers interested in participating in the state’s pre-k pilot program, at the same time the department announced a new name for the program.

“On My Way Pre-K” is the moniker state officials chose for Indiana’s first state-funded pre-kindergarten program.

Barnaby Wasson / https://www.flickr.com/photos/barnabywasson/27991131

Emerson Elementary School in Seymour is playing host this summer to a kindergarten program called Jump Start – as well as a group of participating five-year-olds like Zoe who is eager to talk about what she’s doing here.

"It’s like getting ready for kindergarten," Zoe says. "My teacher told me we were going to do a lot of stuff."

For Zoe, and many other four and five-year-olds in Jackson County, programs like Jump Start have always been their first introduction to school…until now.

Barnaby Wasson / https://www.flickr.com/photos/barnabywasson/27991131

A preschool classroom can be overwhelming. Take one at Bloomington Montessori for example.

There’s a few dozen students scattered around the room, each doing a different activity. One child is painting on an easel, two boys are building and knocking down a tower of blocks, and a  girl is pouring water from one cup into another over a sink.

Teacher Eve Cusack attempts to stop all of this activity and corral the children to go outside.

Designing, finding, or affording a high quality preschool program is often just as confusing to navigate as the classroom itself.

Nicole Mays / flickr.com/photos/mnicolem/295019550

Parents in Allen, Jackson, Lake, Marion and Vanderburgh Counties will soon be eligible to receive state funding to send their kids to preschool.

Indiana's Family and Social Services Administration Tuesday announced those five counties have been chosen from a pool of 18 semi-finalists to participate in Indiana’s pre-K pilot program. 

The FSSA selected the final counties based on their need for preschool programs and their ability to meet that need. Officials had also said cooperation between agencies in each county would be a major determining factor.

Brandon Smith / IPBS

Governor Mike Pence is offering little explanation about the pending departure of Family and Social Services Secretary Debra Minott. 

In a statement released Monday, Minott said she would be transitioning out of her role within a month or two and would work with Governor Pence to ensure that transition is orderly. 

In a separate statement, Pence simply thanked Minott for her service, while his office cited a desire to change direction at the agency as the reason for the move.  A day later, Pence was saying the same thing.

Nicole Mays / flickr.com/photos/mnicolem/295019550

Family and Social Services Administration leaders say collaboration between agencies could help Tippecanoe County become one of five pilot areas for a program designed to address early learning in Indiana.

FSSA spokeswoman Marni Lemons says her agency won’t necessarily choose which counties to award pilot program cash to based on the number of contributing partners, but on how well they work together.