Free high-quality preschool education is available for low-income families in Jackson County through the state-funded On My Way Pre-K program.
Applications for the 2021-22 school year now are being accepted by the Indiana Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning.
“We know that a good, high-quality early education is so critical to children’s success throughout their school years and that it can help them succeed throughout their education,” said Marni Lemons, deputy director of communications for the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration.
The program provides vouchers to eligible families to send their child to any approved On My Way Pre-K site, which includes public and private schools, licensed child care centers, licensed homes or registered ministries.
A total of 37 students were enrolled in On My Way Pre-K in Jackson County this school year. That number was down from 58 students in 2019-20 due to the COVID-19 pandemic
Currently, there are 12 On My Way Pre-K locations available in Jackson County. Cortland Elementary School is being added to the list this fall for a total of 13. Families can search approved providers at childcarefinder.in.gov or can call 800-299-1627 for assistance from an early learning referral specialist.
To be eligible for an On My Way Pre-K voucher, a child must be 4 years old by Aug. 1, live in a household with an income below 127% of the federal poverty level and have parents or guardians who are working, going to school, attending job training or searching for employment.
A limited number of vouchers is available for families with an income up to 185% of the federal poverty level with parents or guardians who receive Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income benefits.
On My Way Pre-K, which started as a five-county pilot, including Jackson County, became statewide in 2019. Nearly 14,000 Hoosier children have attended pre-K through a grant from the On My Way Pre-K program since it began.
Families can use the online application called Early Ed Connect to apply for both On My Way Pre-K and child care assistance through the federal Child Care Development Fund.
Early Ed Connect offers the benefits of easier attachment of documents and notification of successful submission. A Spanish version also is available along with support for any technical issues.
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On My Way Pre-K for 2021-22
Information about the voucher program and the link to apply can be found at onmywayprek.org.
Families can search approved providers at childcarefinder.in.gov or can call 800-299-1627 for assistance from an early learning referral specialist.