Early Childhood Alliance is the central resource for childcare needs in Northeast Indiana. This unique organization covers Allen, Dekalb, LaGrange, Noble, and Whitley counties and provides national, state, and local services to daycare providers and parents. In its fifty years of operation it has developed a host of quality programs. The programs contain child care centers, child care resource and referral, child and adult care food program, training and mentoring, and parents as teachers.
There are two child care centers, open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m Monday through Friday. The tuition is based on family income and will care for mildly ill children who are already enrolled and summer child care for school age children, as well. They are located in the downtown area of Fort Wayne at 516 East Wayne Street and on the north side of Fort Wayne at 1505 Bethany Lane.
The most useful service that is used as a regional clearinghouse is the childcare resource and referral program. Lisa McCoy, [email protected] has been involved in this program for five years and states that she feels it is important to note the customization that takes place when the referral service is contacted. McCoy takes detailed information regarding the family, ages of children, location preferred, and then searches their database of providers to assist the parent in finding the caregiver they would find most practical. In 1996 Paths to Quality was developed to give providers a way to professionalism for their chosen career and to lend a way to measure the provider to parents. Paths to Quality is led by Program Administrator, Teresa Reidt, [email protected] Paths to Quality is an important system of evaluation, voluntarily participated in by providers.
The Child and Adult Care Food Program, CACFP, is a program that Early Childcare Alliance works with to insure that licensed child care providers can give nutritious snacks and meals for children who are in child care.
Early Childcare Alliance also provides training and mentoring for daycare providers and managers. The organization gives workshops, ongoing classes for children, and support for child care programs that want accreditation. They also hold training sessions for Project Safe Start. Project Safe Start is a program that helps children who may be at-risk toward future violent behavior to learn conflict resolution skills.
PAT (Parents as Teachers) is another program supported by Early Childhood Alliance. This program helps train parents through one-on-one visits, group meetings and screenings to help their child develop.
As is evident, Early Childhood Alliance is an essential requirement in Northeast Indiana’s childcare process. It is the first stop for any parent who is ready to make the most important decision they will ever make.