Indiana: Increasing Access to Child Care Information for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Families

Aug 03, 2009

In Indiana, the cultural and linguistic needs of diverse families are addressed primarily at the community level through the local child care subsidy intake offices where families go to apply for child care assistance and through the state\'s eleven local child care resource and referral agencies (CCR&R\'s).

As part of the selection process for becoming a local intake agent, the state evaluated the ability of organizations to accommodate families who speak languages other than English. Since 2005, a provision in the intake agents\' contract requires that they accommodate diverse populations, including people with language barriers. Intake agencies in partnership with the Indiana Association for Child Care Resource and Referral (IACCRR) and local CCR&Rs have taken multiple strategies to meet this provision: 

  • Providing onsite bilingual staff: Some intake agencies have bilingual staff to assist families in learning about and applying for child care subsidies. For families that speak Spanish, the most common spoken language among limited English proficient families in the state, all 11 local CCR&Rs are prepared to assist them by having Spanish-speaking staff or connecting families to Indiana\'s toll-free Spanish Child Care Services hotline run by IACCRR.
     
  • Partnering with community-based organizations: Among intake agencies that do not have onsite bilingual staff, some work instead with community-based partners to provide translation and interpretation services.  
     
  • Translating materials and forms for parents: Some intake agencies translate key informational materials and application forms in Spanish.
     
  • Offering enhanced child care referral services for families with infants and toddlers: CCR&Rs offer enhanced referral services for Spanish-speaking families with infants and toddlers (and children with special needs). Among these services, CCR&Rs will look on behalf of parents for vacant child care slots and serve as consultants in the search process.

Culturally and linguistically diverse communities in the state are frequently found in areas with businesses or schools that have large numbers of workers and students from other countries. Intake agencies collaborate with their local CCR&R agencies to meet the particular needs of these diverse communities. For instance, Child Care Answers, the CCR&R in Indianapolis, has collaborated with the International Center of Indianapolis to assist linguistically and culturally diverse parents with finding child care. In the city of Fort Wayne, the CCR&R, Early Childhood Alliance, provides trainings to increase the supply of child care providers that meet the cultural and linguistic needs of the area\'s large Burmese population. The local intake agencies and CCR&R have also partnered with churches to improve outreach to the community\'s Laos population. Local CCR&R agencies have a Memorandum of Agreement with their local community partners that define each party\'s responsibilities, including the recruitment of licensed and legally license-exempt providers, linking providers to available local resources, and assisting providers moving towards becoming licensed.

 

State Contact Information:

Melanie Brizzi, Child Care Administrator
Indiana Family and Social Services Administration
(317) 234-3313
melanie.brizzi@fssa.in.gov

 

See all Charting Progress for Babies in Child Care State Examples.

Read more about the project recommendation to Provide Information on Infant/Toddler Care, including research, policy ideas, and links to online resources.

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