Child Care

High-Quality Child Care

Quality child care can be expensive. Fortunately, there may be financial assistance for hard-working, Indiana families that meet certain income criteria. And, some providers may have flexibility to help families who don’t meet the income criteria.  

Special Opportunity

Healthcare Worker Child Care Applications

Lake Area United Way has grant funding to help healthcare workers who live in Hammond, East Chicago, and Gary pay for childcare through the end of May. To learn more and see if you qualify for funding click here.

How to Find a High-Quality Child Care Provider in Lake County

1. Call Early Learning Connections at Geminus Child Care Resource and Referral Agency (CCR&R)

Talk to a specialist who can offer profiles of early child care and education programs to assist you in selecting high-quality providers. This service is free and confidential. Local: (219) 658-1500 or Toll Free: (844) 685-1500.

2. Search and Map Indiana Child Care Providers 

Explore the Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) Online Child Care Finder:

3. Support Your Child’s Early Learning

Discover age-appropriate play and learning aids, and learn about developmental milestones, screenings, and services through Brighter Futures Indiana:

4. Take Care of Your Whole Family

Even hard-working families need a little help from time to time. Search Lake Area United Way’s Resource Round Up to connect with helping organizations: 



Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) for children birth to age 13.

CCDF is a federal program that helps low-income families obtain child care so that they may work, attend training or continue their education. The purpose of CCDF is to increase the availability, affordability and quality of child care.


CCDF Intake Agent--Region 1A     

Automated Health Systems     

Roberto Castro     

Phone: 855-533-7342     

Toll-Free: 855-533-7342     

Fax: 855-631-0120

Income Guidelines for CCDF Initial Application (March 31, 2019)

Family Size / Gross Monthly Income      

2 / $1742  •  3 / $2199  •  4 / $2656  •  5 / $3114  •  6 / $3571  •  7 / $4028  •  8 / $4485



Head Start and Early Head Start

Head Start is a federal program that promotes the school readiness of children under five (5) from low-income families by enhancing their cognitive, social, and emotional development. Head Start programs provide a learning environment that supports children’s growth in many areas such as language, literacy and social and emotional development. Head Start emphasizes the role of parents as their child’s first and most important teacher. These programs help build relationships with families that support family well-being and many other important areas.

Early Head Start programs serve infants, toddlers and pregnant women and their families who have incomes below the federal poverty level. Early Head Start programs were established in recognition of the mounting evidence that the earliest years matter a great deal to a child’s growth and development.

Contact: To find a Head Start or Early Head Start program, call 866-763-6481, or use the Head Start locator:



On My Way Pre-K

If your child will be 4 years old by August 1st and your family meets other program requirements, you can apply for On My Way Pre-K, Indiana’s first pre-kindergarten funding for high-quality pre-K programs located within your community.

Contact: Find out if your child is eligible or to apply visit: or call 1-800-299-1627

Income Guidelines for On My Way Pre-K (March 31, 2019)

Family Size / Gross Monthly Income      

2 / $190  •  3 / $2257  •  4 / $2725  •  5 / $3193  •  6 / $3661  •  7 / $4129  •  8 / $4596


Are You Searching for School Age Child Care? 


Search and Map Indiana Out-of-School Time Providers 

Indiana Afterschool Network’s Out-of-School Time Program Search:

Local Nonprofit Afterschool Care Providers

• Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater NWI  /  (219) 764-2582  /

• Griffith YMCA  /  (219) 750-1082  /

• Hammond YMCA  /  (219) 845-1507  /

• Whiting YMCA  /  (219) 370-5091  /

• Hobart Family YMCA  /  (219) 942-2183  /


To download information about high-quality child care, click here.