For many low to moderate income working families, the cost of child care equates to almost 50 percent of their take-home pay, making it very difficult for parents to prepare their children for success in school through early childhood education programs.
Incorporated in 2000, the Early Learning Coalition (ELC) of Brevard County aims to close that gap by providing oversight of the School Readiness subsidized child care program as well as the Voluntary Pre-kindergarten (VPK) Program. These programs assist families to achieve economic self-sufficiency, as well as prepare children for success in school by providing developmentally appropriate educational experiences.
The School Readiness program provides assistance to eligible families to allow them access to affordable, high quality early education experiences. Approximately 3,200 children a month are attending early learning programs with the support of the program and, as of February, there were 1,035 children on the waiting list for assistance.
The VPK program is a constitutionally mandated program that provides each child residing in Florida who will reach age 4 on or before September 1 with free quality pre-kindergarten education. Over 5,000 children are currently enrolled in a VPK program during the current school year.
Other programs that the ELC administers includes the Child Care Resource & Referral (CR&R) program in which residents of Brevard County are offered a wealth of free information regarding child care, and the Child Care Executive Partnership Program (CCEP) that assists employers with meeting the needs of working parents faced with the high cost of child care.
The services provided by the ELC would not be possible without the support of many community partners. The United Way of Brevard provides generous local funding to provide child care services for families in need and the cities of Titusville, Cocoa, Melbourne and Palm Bay have awarded funds to support child care services. Brevard County has followed suit by allocating funding to assist working families with the cost of child care.
Vision: Brevard County children will start school prepared to succeed.
Mission: To provide leadership and support for School Readiness and Voluntary Pre-kindergarten programs so that children have the opportunity to benefit from the highest quality early learning environments.