Quality child care update from Carolyn Dederer

The On My Way Pre-K program is winding up the registration process that will make it possible for over 1,500 kids ages three and four to attend preschool for the first time. This pilot program serves low-income families in Marion County who qualify for scholarships, but have not been able to secure a child care voucher in the past. Over 12,000 children in Marion County attend child care programs using these vouchers, and there are currently over 1,200 eligible children on the voucher waiting list.

So what is the On My Way Pre-K program?

It’s a unique partnership between United Way, the Indiana Department of Family and Social Services, Child Care Answers, the City-County Council, and the corporate sector. Each group has contributed funding and expertise to the program, making pre-K possible for many children in low-income households.

Research confirms that children learn 85% of what they know in their first four years, yet thousands of children do not have access to educational programs that take advantage of this critical learning phase in life. A correlation has been established between preschool attendance and a higher high school graduation rate, so it is important for our community to support young children at the outset. This program is an important beginning for these children!  

“United Way believes in the potential of every child to succeed”, advises Beth Stroh, Director of Education at United Way. “This program is a demonstration of our goal of success for every child in Central Indiana. We hope it grows and flourishes until every child is able to attend preschool and go on to a life of educational achievement."


Carolyn Dederer has over 36 years in human service management, fundraising, teaching, and community problem solving.  She currently serves as a consultant to United Way of Central Indiana, assisting with identifying providers who have capacity to expand seats to serve Pre-K scholarship recipients.