United Way’s new push to improve Central Indiana child care

In the heart of Haughville, an Indianapolis community known for its economic and social challenges, there’s a diamond in the rough.  It’s called Charity Child Care.

Against the odds, the center is now rated tops in the state, a Level 4 in the “Paths to Quality” ratings system. It is not only recognized for caring for children of low-income families but also for providing a high level of education.

“Reading, math, art– they are learning with their whole bodies,” said Juaneka Ennis, Charity Child Care Executive Director.

Now the United Way’s director of education is holding Charity Child Care up as a model for a new campaign to change the state of childcare in Central Indiana.

The United Way says they want to make sure that not only do children survive in childcare in Central Indiana but they want them to thrive.  There are 450 child care centers that are licensed and registered in Central Indiana but the United Way says roughly half are below par.

“We have too many kids that are being unsupervised,” said Ted Maple, United Way’s Director of Education.  “They’re in an unsafe facility.  They’re not being taken care of like we expect them to be taken care of.”

But, Maple said, he knows turnarounds are possible, just ask Charity Child Care’s director.

“We’ve worked hard,” said Ennis. “They’ve worked with us. They’ve provided mentorship, financial support and professional development funding.”

Now, the United Way says the push is on to empower parents to ask tough questions about their child’s care and influence leaders.

“And pushing policy makers to change the rules and laws in our state that allow unsafe childcare to exist and actually be funded by our public dollars,” Maple said.

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