Indiana to expand pre-K program for low-income families
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Indiana’s pre-K program is expanding to 20 counties across the state thanks to a $22 million expansion lawmakers passed last year.
On My Way Pre-K officials hope to enroll about 3,700 children for the program’s rollout this fall, the South Bend Tribune reported .
A pilot version of the program launched in five counties in January. St. Joseph County enrolled nearly 50 kids.
The county has received more than 100 applications since the program’s March 1 broader launch, but only about 80 qualify, said Anna Carter, project manager for the program in St. Joseph, Elkhart, Marshall and Kosciusko counties.
The program covers preschools that are accredited or at least rated Level 3 in the state’s Paths to Quality rating. Tuition is covered up to the market rate for each county, plus 10 percent. Parents pay any remaining fees.
A family’s income must be below 127 percent of the federal poverty level to qualify. Children must be at least 4 years old by Aug. 1 to enroll in the program. Parents must also be enrolled in school or working to qualify.
“We will work with folks who think they don’t immediately qualify,” said Marni Lemons, a spokeswoman for Indiana’s Family & Social Services Administration. “We are willing to be very flexible.”
Parents can enroll in any college class that offers credit, such as English as a second language, or enroll in a GED program or job training, Carter said. Having a job for at least 10 hours per week will qualify.
Funding comes from the state, the federal government and private dollars, including the United Way.
Information from: South Bend Tribune, http://www.southbendtribune.com