Sites to offer free child care, e-learning support to Indianapolis children

Several Indianapolis not-for-profits are creating a multi-site community child care network that will provide free e-learning supervision for students whose schools are operating remotely this year.

The Mind Trust, an Indianapolis not-for-profit that supports schools, is organizing the effort and giving $200,000 in grants to the sites. The 11 sites will begin operating by Aug. 24 and run at least until Oct. 16, according to a release from the organization.

The sites will initially have space for at least 500 students. Providers will focus on serving students who attend schools in Indianapolis Public Schools boundaries, but other students can participate based on need. For more information, visit  CommunityLearningSites.org. All sites will provide daily breakfast and lunch.

Thousands of Indianapolis students will be in school remotely this year, putting intense pressure on working parents whose children are learning virtually and lack child care. Districts including IPS and multiple charter schools shifted to virtual instruction for the start of the year because of  coronavirus safety concerns.

“Marginalized families in Indianapolis continue to shoulder a disproportionate burden as a result of COVID-19,” said Brandon Brown, CEO of The Mind Trust, in a written statement. “As many schools make the understandable decision to begin the new school year virtually, families continue to tell us and our community partners that they need support navigating the many obstacles they currently face.”

The sites aim to address the concern that children without sufficient academic supervision and support at home will fall behind in school. The Mind Trust is also looking to hire facilitators to work with small groups of students at the sites on e-learning.

The Mind Trust chose the child care providers based on their interest, capacity to begin programming, and location in high-need areas, according to the release. The sites can use the funding for personnel costs, facility costs, wireless infrastructure, meals, personal protective equipment, and transportation support for families.

The child care sites:

  • Chaney Microlearning Center;
  • Christamore House;
  • Cornerstone Lutheran Church Indianapolis, in partnership with Shepherd Community Center;
  • Crossroads AME Church;
  • Edna Martin Christian Center;
  • Freedom Academy Inc. (The Reset Center);
  • Hawthorne Community Center;
  • Kids Inc., in partnership with Shepherd Community Center;
  • Shepherd Community Center;
  • Tabernacle Presbyterian Church;
  • Westside Missionary Baptist Church.

Chalkbeat is a not-for-profit news site covering educational change in public schools.

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