Frequently Asked Questions
General Information and Eligibility
- 1. What is the purpose of the Employer-Sponsored Child Care Fund?
Indiana's Employer-Sponsored Child Care Fund aims to mobilize Indiana’s employer community to support the state’s growing child care needs by increasing the presence of employer-sponsored care. The effort, which Gov. Holcomb detailed in his 2023 Next Level Agenda, is funded with a portion of the state’s remaining federal relief funds from the COVID-19 pandemic.
- 2. Who is eligible to apply?
Applicants must fall into one of the following categories* to be eligible:
- A business or corporation employing 20 or more Indiana-based employees;
- A group of employers with a total of 20 or more Indiana-based employees; OR
- A 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4) or 501(c)(6) community-based nonprofit organization (i.e., community foundations, chambers of commerce, United Way agencies, coalitions, etc.) applying on behalf of a group of local employers with a combined total of 20 or more Indiana-based employees.
All entities included in the application, including lead applicants and supporting partners, must be located in Indiana and be in good standing with the Indiana Secretary of State Office.
*As a reminder, child care providers are not eligible for this opportunity.
- 3. What does it mean to be in “good standing” with the Secretary of State?
The Indiana Secretary of State offers Certificates of Existence (formerly Certificates of Good Standing) to businesses indicating that they have complied with all requirements to operate in the state of Indiana. Applicants must have a Certificate of Existence with the Secretary of State to prove they are in good standing and to be eligible for this opportunity. To learn more and order your certificate, please visit the Secretary of State website here.
Please note that all entities included within a group application, not just the lead applicant, must have a Certificate of Existence.
- 4. Are child care providers and Head Start programs eligible to apply for this opportunity?
No, this opportunity is not open to child care providers or Head Start programs.
However, the early child care and education field and the families served will indirectly benefit from investments made, and providers may be asked to partner on projects with employers or nonprofits that apply for funding.
This initiative is part of the state’s broader efforts to strengthen the early child care and education sector. In recent years, the state has provided $542 million in stabilization grants to more than 3,300 child care providers. The Employer-Sponsored Child Care Fund seeks to further bolster these investments.
- 5. Are school corporations eligible to apply for this opportunity?
Yes, Indiana-based school corporations are eligible to apply for this opportunity. This includes school corporations that operate pre-K programs and/or offer on-site child care programs for their employees or community.
- 6. How can funds be spent?
Eligible applicants may request funding to expand or implement child care benefits through several support category options, empowering them to choose what is most appropriate for their business or local employer community. Applicants (both single employer and group applicants) may only request funding in one of the support category options. Access the Allowable Expense Guide here to see a list of support categories in which funds can be requested.
- 7. What is required of me if my business/organization is awarded funding?
In receiving these funds, recipients agree to comply with all grant terms, including but not limited to: submitting a finalized implementation plan, implementing project plans within the grant period, contribute at a minimum, an additional 10% of the total funding request through in-kind or monetary contributions, and completing reports on how funding was spent. Full terms and agreements are included in the application.
As with all funding, awardees are responsible for tracking how funds were used, including ensuring funds from different sources or opportunities do not pay for the same expenses. Awardees will be instructed to retain all receipts and documentation associated with the spending of Employer-Sponsored Child Care Fund for reporting and auditing purposes.
- 8. How much funding are applicants able to request?
Award amounts are capped based on employer size using the chart below. Applicants that request more than their award cap will be disqualified.
Award Caps # of Total IN Employees Represented by Applicant Award Cap 1,000+ $750,000 500 - 999 $350,000 250 - 499 $200,000 100 - 249 $100,000 50 - 99 $50,000 20 - 49 $25,000
- 9. Is there a limit to the number of applications a company/organization can submit?
Companies/organizations must submit one application. In addition, an employer cannot be represented in multiple applications. For example, an employer cannot apply on its own and be included in an application on behalf of a group of employers.
- 10. Am I required to provide a cost-share fund match if I am awarded funding?
- 11. Can I blend funding received from the Employer-Sponsored Child Care Fund with other funding related to supporting child care/the workforce?
- 12. What is the deadline to apply?
The around two application window opens Nov. 23 and runs through Friday, Dec. 15, 2023, until 11:59 p.m. ET.
- 13. What if I have more questions?
Informational webinars were held online from October through November to help address questions.
- 14. If an employer/group of employers chooses a support category that requires partnership with a child care provider, do funds have to be used in partnership with just one child care provider, or can they be used across a network of providers?
It is not required that all employers represented in an applicant group partner with the same child care provider when creating their programs or using grant funds. For example, a group may request funds to establish reserved seats across a network of child care providers, allowing employees of participating organizations to choose a location from a list of providers that have openings and best fit their individual family preferences and needs.
- 15. I am a community organization applying on behalf of employers in my area. Do I need to have my partner employers secured and identified in my application?
Entities applying on behalf of a group of employers are not required to secure and list all partnering employers in their application
- 16. I would like to apply for funding with or on behalf of a group of employers. Is there a limit to how far geographically these employers can be located?
There is no specific limit to the geographic distance between Indiana employers applying as part of a group, but applicants should use their discretion to ensure that distance would not inhibit the goals of the grant or requested use of funds.
- 17. I am a community organization that offers several programs, including a child care operation. Am I eligible for this opportunity?
Organizations that offer multiple lines of business outside child care services are eligible to apply on behalf of a group of local employers with a combined total of 20 or more Indiana-based employees. Organizations whose main business line is child care are not eligible.
- 18. I am an employer with multiple sites throughout Indiana. Can each site apply separately, or should I apply as one statewide entity?
Multi-site employers may either apply at the system level or at the individual site level, but not both. Applying at both levels will result in disqualification. Employers are encouraged to discuss and align around their approach internally before applying.
- 19. Can grant funds only be used to support licensed child care?
Funds can only be used to support families in accessing child care programs that are licensed or regulated by the State of Indiana. Any new programs created through grant funding must also become licensed. Please note that award priority will be given to high-quality care options.
- 20. Is an employer headquartered out of state, but with the majority of its employees and facilities located in Indiana, eligible for funding?
No, employers must be headquartered within Indiana to be eligible.
- 21. Can the funds be used over multiple years depending on the take-rate of a tuition-based program?
Funding must be used within 12 months of receiving the grant award. Any funds not used within this period of time will be required to be returned to the state.
Application and Award Process
- 1. How do I submit an application for funding?
Applications can be submitted at https://childcaregrants.fssa.in.gov/. Applicants can reference the Application Guide for a step-by-step walkthrough by track.
- 2. What is required in the application?
Applicants will be required to provide details regarding their workforce and related child care needs, the category in which they are requesting funding, proposed approach for using funds and how it relates to the program’s priorities, partner information, implementation, and sustainability plan, timeline and budget. Applicants can reference the Application Guide for a step-by-step walkthrough by track.
- 3. Do I have to complete the application in full or can I save and come back later?
As part of completing the application through the grant portal, users can begin, save progress and come back.
- 4. Where can I ask specific questions about completing the application?
Applicants can reference the Application Guide for a step-by-step walkthrough by track. If an applicant still has questions, they can contact OECOSLDirector@fssa.in.gov.
- 5. Where can I find data to support my application in indicating the need for child care in my community?
- 6. How do I locate information on the child care providers in my community?
- 7. What is the timeline for award decisions and how will providers be notified?
Applicants will receive email notification of award decisions this winter.
- 8. How will applications be reviewed and scored?
Applications will be reviewed based on criteria including but not limited to how they prioritize support for vulnerable family populations, indicate local partnership and engagement, and offer a plan for sustainability.
Post-Award Reporting and Considerations
- 1. How long does my program have to spend the money?
Funds can be used to cover costs incurred up to 12 months after the award is received.
- 2. Do I have to provide receipts or documentation of how my company/organization spent funding?
Do I have to provide receipts or documentation of how my company/organization spent funding?
- 3. Am I required to repay or return funds if my company closes or fails to spend all of the money by the deadline?
In accepting an award, you agree to spend all funds by the deadline and in accordance with the terms of the grant. Failure to do so, including but not limited to permanent closure of a business within the period outlined in the grant terms, will result in having to repay or return unused funds.
- 4. Will OECOSL be publishing or sharing any program-level data collected through applications?
No, OECOSL will not be publishing or sharing program-level data collected through applications.
- 5. Will there be any additional rounds of funding?
No additional funding is available for the Employer-Sponsored Child Care Fund.
- 6. Where can I see who was awarded?
See who received awards here.
- 7. How were awardees selected?
Award decisions were based on several factors, including adherence to eligibility criteria, extent to which proposed solutions strategically addressed the needs of the workforce, how they prioritized support for vulnerable family populations, local partnership and engagement, and offer a plan for sustainability.
- 8. How were awardees notified?
The primary and secondary contacts within the application were notified via email.
- 9. If I was not funded, should I have received notification?
The primary and secondary contacts within any application not awarded were notified via email at the same time Round 2 awardees were notified.
- 10. What happens after I have reviewed and confirmed the grant agreement and budget?
The Grant Agreement and Budget you received will be processed by the State’s Contracts team. During this process, the Grant Agreement will undergo multiple review / approval cycles. Once the Grant Agreement has been approved by all required reviewers, the individual you previously indicated as the “Signer” will receive a notification to complete signatures via DocuSign.
- 11. What are the claims and payment process?
Once the Grant Agreement has been fully executed, the State’s Claims team will provide you with a “Claims Form.” This form will be used to submit claims for payment, based on the terms in your Grant Agreement and Budget. The form will include guidance on how to submit for payment, along with how to request the initial payment (up to 30%) you requested within the application.
- 12. What are the reporting requirements and process?
Quarterly reporting will be required and will take place within the Grant Portal (where the application was completed). You will receive notification when the Portal is ready for you to submit reports, where you will indicate how much of the funds were spent within the reporting timeframe.
- 13. When do funds have to be spent?
Funds must be spent based on the timeframe outlined within the grant agreement.
- 14. When will I receive the initial payment?
Initial payments will be processed after the first claim form is submitted; payments are typically processed within 60 days.
- 15. When can I start spending the funds?
You can spend funds once the grant agreement is fully executed.
- 16. I was awarded in the “Onsite / Near Site Care” category, what can I expect next?
A member of the OECOSL Licensing Team will reach out to discuss the information you provided in the Onsite Child Care Form, and to identify support you need based on your proposal.
- 17. Can a new user be added to the Grant portal to have access to the reporting feature?
New users can be associated with the Grant application to provide access to reporting. Any existing user can also be removed by request. All requests should be sent to OECOSLDirector@fssa.in.gov and include the name and email used to login to Access Indiana.
- 18. What is the login URL for the Grant portal?
Access the grant portal here.
- 19. Where can I access the Allowable Expense Guide?
Access the Allowable Expense Guide here.
- 20. Is the grant considered income for tax purposes?
Any awards are considered income. All awarded applicants will receive a 1099 for funds received. OECOSL does not provide tax advice and recommends consulting your accountant or tax expert for related questions and/or concerns.
- 21. Are awardees considered beneficiaries or sub-recipients?
Recipients of the employer-sponsored grant awards are considered beneficiaries.2.I am a school corporation and was awarded funds to support creation of an on-site child care program, what happens if we are not able to become regulated within the timeframe the grant funds have to be spent?
- 22. Can the funds be used to support school age care?
Funds can be used to support school age care (K – 12) that is NOT already funded by other state or federal dollars and does not take place during the regular school day.
- 23. I am a school corporation and was awarded funds to support creation of an on-site child care program, what are the minimum regulatory requirements that I must meet to receive the Employer Sponsored Funds?
Any new child care program created or expanded through the Employer Sponsored Fund must become regulated by the State and meet the Provider Eligible Standards. Additional standards may apply based on the overall plan for regulation.
If an awardee determines they will not be able to meet the requirements of the grant, the Grant Agreement should not be signed when provided via DocuSign and a notification should be sent to OECOSLDirector@fssa.in.gov.