We want the young living in Shelby County to grow up in a community of opportunity.

Early Learning Shelby County works to support high-quality early learning and healthy development for Shelby County's youngest children, from birth to five, by championing policies, promoting innovative and evidence-based practices, and building public will.  Finding a high-quality early learning opportunity is essential for the majority of Shelby County families. Parents want safe environments, with loving and trusted caregivers, where they know their children are learning and where their whole family is welcomed. But accessing those opportunities is a challenge for too many families.  The facts show that Shelby County’s families need more accessible and higher quality care.  The numbers below, compiled in partnership with Indiana Youth Institute and Indiana’s Office of Early Childhood and Out of School Learning, demonstrate that we must do better for our County’s youngest learners and their families.

Shelby County Children & Families
  • There are more than 3,000 children in Shelby County that are five years old or younger. Of those, nearly 20% live in families that make less than 130% of the federal poverty level.

  • Seventy-four percent of young learners in our community live in families where all parents work. That means that they need a high-quality option to support their growth and education while their parents are on the job.

Shelby County Families Have Unmet Child Care Needs
  • Inadequate child care has forced one in four low-income families to turn down, change or quit a job in the past year.

  • More 2,200 young children need care on a weekly basis.

High-Quality Programs are Hard to Find
  • Only 6% of Shelby County’s known early learning seats are in designated Paths to QUALITY™ programs.

  • Only 8 high-quality seats are available for children under the age of 3 years.  We have 1,145 infants and toddlers living in Shelby County.

Finding Good Care at an Affordable Price is a Significant Challenge
  • A Shelby County family of three living at the poverty line pays 40% of its annual income for quality preschool, which averages over $6,000 per year.  Infant and toddler programs are more expensive.

  • In 2018, children received $181,106 in Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) vouchers.  Head Start and Early Head Start programs, which promote the school readiness of young children birth through age 5 from low-income families through agencies in their local community, spent over $600,000 in programs that support the comprehensive development of children at the center and in their own homes.

preparing children for lifelong success

To further the physical, social, emotional and intellectual development of Shelby County children with a primary focus on the ages birth through age 5. 

unifying leadership, support & guidance

To ensure that all children of Shelby County enter school healthy and well cared for and ready to succeed in school and in life.

partnering for excellence

To promote the importance of early learning and to secure educational opportunities for all children by working closely with fellow service providers, families, corporations, elected officials, and the community at large .

developing a family-focused community

To ensure that Shelby County can and should be the best place to raise a young child age 5 and under.