Ida Huffer, a teacher at West Longfellow School in Muncie was interested in child care for underprivileged children. Her estate was probated in 1957 and placed in the hands of the courts until such time that an organization could meet the terms of the will. There was a group of concerned citizens organizing at this time who were interested in providing child care for underprivileged children, and especially those children in the northeast sector of Muncie (Whitely Neighborhood). The group began a long struggle of obtaining the Huffer legacy and planning a child development center. On February 18, 1965 the Huffer Memorial Children’s Center, Inc. was incorporated under the laws of Indiana and in December l966 received a not-for-profit status from the Internal Revenue Service. The courts were petitioned and the Huffer funds were directed to the newly formed corporation.
The group found a tract of land (the present location of the Educare program at 2000 N Elgin St) and purchased it out of the Huffer funds. Huffer estate funds, along with contributions from Muncie businesses and individuals, were used as matching funds to obtain a community facilities grant, in cooperation with the City of Muncie, from the department of Housing and Urban Development. After much research and planning, the group built the Huffer Memorial Children’s Center.
In May 1972, the Huffer Memorial Children’s Center opened its doors. Funding to operate the Center came from private donations, parent fees, Title IV-A, Special Food Service Program, and income produced by the remaining Huffer assets (which were restricted by the courts). It was a struggle but the Center survived. The program started with a small group and only occupied two classrooms of the building with approximately 30 children.
Funding the Program… A United Way Agency
Huffer became a United Way Agency in 1975. This allowed the center to set up a sliding fee scale so that family child care fees are based on their income level. Huffer continues to receive federal funding, as the Title IV-A funds were replaced by Title XX, SSBG, and currently CCDF (Child Care and Development Fund).
Increased funding over the past years has enabled Huffer to function near capacity. Huffer is currently licensed for 170 children ages six weeks-10. We serve approximately 125 preschoolers and 30 school age children (before and after school). A summer program also provides a “Day Camp” for up to 40 school age children.
Two Unique Programs One Legacy
lovingly caring for children since 1965
The Educare Program
The philosophy of the program has been very firmly established and continues today as it was established in 1972. This is detailed in the program book, Children are People, which was developed by the program committee of the board and included expertise from Ball State University professors. The program book was last revised in 1991. In 1998, Huffer received Accreditation from the National Academy of Early Childhood Programs – A program of the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Huffer became a Ball State University Professional Development School in 1999.
Increased funding over the past years has enabled Huffer’s child care center to function near capacity. Huffer is currently licensed for 170 children ages six weeks to 12 years of age. We serve approximately 125 preschoolers and 30 school age children (before and after school). A summer program also provides a “Day Camp” for up to 40 school age children.
In 1992, the Delaware County Special Education Cooperative began utilizing Huffer as a site to provide preschool speech therapy services. Preschool education services for children from the Special Education Cooperative between the ages of 3-5 years were contracted beginning in 1994. This program has grown to provide inclusive early childhood education and extended day child care for those families who need it. A variety of therapy services are provided on site by Co-op personnel.
The Child Care Resource and Referral Program
Huffer’s Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) program started in December of 1992 and provided services to 2-4 counties over the next several years. The Lending Library resource center was opened in 1993. These resource materials are available for check-out to early childhood professionals who are registered with the collection and incorporate materials for curriculum development and assessment, child development, program administration, and classroom enrichment materials.
In October of 2003, the State of Indiana restructured the CCR&R system and Huffer CCR&R grew to provide services to 10 counties of East Central Indiana. The CCR&R program is made up of 9 staff talented staff members and delivers referrals to families, train child care providers and works with community initiatives to increase the quality of early childhood education within the 10 counties they serve.
Serving: Madison, Delaware, Randolph, Hancock, Henry, Wayne, Shelby, Rush, Fayette, and Union counties.
The CCR&R program has very talented staff members who can deliver referrals to families, provide professional development opportunities and work with community members. The team of experts work to increase the quality of early childhood education within a 10 county radius.