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About Us

Early Connections (formerly the YWCA) has operated in Erie County for over 125 years, providing outreach and programming to young children and families. In the beginning the YWCA primarily focused on providing housing, education, and employment services for young women living in the Home for Girls. To meet the growing need for child care, this expanded into opening the Children’s Center in downtown Erie. After disaffiliating from the national YWCA and becoming Early Connections, we continued to focus on developing programs to meet the needs of our community. Now, Early Connections provides high-quality STAR 4-level early care and education programming at four sites, two in the City of Erie, one in Union City, and one in North East. 

Currently, we serve approximately 200 children in our centers, from infant through school age. Four locations include Pre-K Counts and four locations include Infant Toddler Contracted Slots funding programs. All centers participate in our contract with the Office of Children and Youth, to provide high-quality, stable child care for children of families actively involved with OCY. Early Connections accepts CCW (subsidy) child care funding for qualified families.

Early Connections is actively involved in partnerships throughout the NW Region:

  • 1199C Training and Upgrading Fund, PA State System of Higher Education’s Professional Development Organizations, and the NWPA Job Connect: As Intermediary for the Registered Early Childhood Education Apprenticeship Program, EC helps set up processes to connect and support child care workers while they work to obtain higher credentials.
  • School Districts throughout the NW Region:  Early Connections is the Sponsor for the Registered Pre-Apprenticeship Program in the Northwest Region. Currently we have 9 School Districts that have officially partnered with our organization to help grow Pre-Apprenticeships in Early Childhood in 12 school districts, connecting high school students to child care employers and higher educational opportunities.
  • Erie Public Schools: EC contracts with the EPS to provide inclusive classrooms for children the EPS has identified as having special needs. In addition, EC contracts with the school district for their Pre-K Counts grant to provide PKC classrooms at our City Center location.
  • Iroquois School District: Early Connections contracts with the ISD to offer a Pre-K Counts classroom for children at Iroquois Elementary School.
  • Union City Area School District: Early Connections participates with the district on the Transition Team and community activities.
  • Erie Housing Authority: Early Connections has early care and education centers located in John E. Horan Garden Apartments and in Harbor Homes.
  • Erie’s Future Fund: EC administers Erie’s Future Fund, which receives support through  PreK-EITC, the Erie Community Foundation, private donors, and other funders.
  • OCY: EC has a contract with OCY to provide quality early care and education for young children from families involved with OCY.
  • 4 N.I.N.E.: EC is working in partnership with 4 N.I.N.E. to provide access to quality early care and education in North East.
  • Northwest Tri-county Intermediate Unit: EC contracts with the Intermediate Unit for Induction and Teacher Effectiveness assessments for Pre-K Counts teachers.
  • Early Connections participates in:
    • Erie Coalition for a Trauma Informed Community
    • PreK Counts Committee
    • Local Interagency Coordination Council
    • Erie Together
  • Early Connections has an MOA with these organizations to help provide early care and education for children experiencing homelessness:
    • Erie United Methodist Alliance (EUMA)
    • Mercy Center for Women
  • Early Connections has an MOU with the Early Learning Resource Center to work together on initiatives and communications that assist families with children in our child care programming.
  • Early Connections has an MOU with Erie’s Housing and Neighborhood Development Service (HANDS) to provide information and an easy referral if a family needs childcare at our City Center location.