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November 2020 Monthly Musing

ECI Stakeholders Alliance Meets December 8

Save the date for the upcoming ECI Stakeholders Alliance. The Alliance will meet via Zoom from 12:30pm to 3:30pm with large and small group discussions. Anyone who is interested in learning about and/or supporting Iowa's early childhood system is encouraged to attend. The meeting agenda will be posted to the ECI website at least one week in advance of December 8, 2020.

An Examination of Child Care in Iowa - Part 1

On November 5, 2020 Ryan Page, Iowa Department of Human Services' Child Care Regulatory Program Manager and Team Lead for the Child Care Bureau, spoke with host Steve Adams from Back to Business Iowa. Within the podcast discussion the conversation focused on the status of child care; especially the effect the pandemic has had on service providers and the various resources the state provides to this critical industry.

IDPH Expands Telehealth Resources to Families During the Pandemic

Through funding from the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP), the Iowa Department of Public Health is proud to announce expansion of their Phones for Families program. Iowa families who are participating in the Title V Maternal and Child Health (MCH) program, including Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN), or a family support component of the Newborn Screening program are eligible for Phones for Families.

“The Phones for Families program helps eliminate barriers to services by providing a mechanism for families to participate in services through telehealth. By providing standardized equipment, such as a phone and data plan, families can focus on care rather than connectivity and access.” said Marcus Johnson-Miller, IDPH Title V Director. “While these limitations were prevalent before the COVID-19 pandemic, the need to mitigate these issues are further heightene d during these times.”

Phones for Families provides a smart phone with unlimited talk, text, and 5 GB of data per month. The plan allows families to stay connected with their service provider, other formal resources, and informal supports, such as family and friends. This project improves access to care for participating families by providing technology to connect with support services, primary care, and specialty care without having to travel or coordinate care for their other children.

To date, Phone for Families has provided assisted 229 families. The program’s expansion will add 300 more smart phones and data plans for Iowa families using MCH, CYSHCN, and Newborn Screening programs. For more information on Title V program, visit

Child Care in 25 States: What We Know and Don’t Know

The Bipartisan Policy Center recently hosted a webinar on the release of their new interactive map and report of 25 states on child care gaps. Iowa is one of the states included in the analysis. There are several different ways to look at the data in the interactive map, for example, county, state senate district, congressional district, etc. The report includes information on how parental choices play a role. One thing to keep in mind when looking at the data is that the "potential need" is based on the number of children under the age of six and percentage of all parents in the household with children under the age of six in the labor force. The "supply" is based on the number of regulated slots/spaces in home-based programs and centers/preschools and school-based programs (slots for children under the age of 13). The potential need in communities may be greater based on the ages of children needing care and the age categories of slots/spaces available.

NRCEC 2020 Virtual Conference, November 30 - December 3

The Administration for Children and Families National Research Conference on Early Childhood (NRCEC) 2020 will present the latest research surrounding Head Start, Early Head Start, child care, home visiting, child welfare, special education, pre-kindergarten, early elementary, and other early childhood programs. Registration for this event is free and open to the public. You will be able to access all virtual conference sessions from the NRCEC website. Sessions will be streamed from November 30 – December 3 and will feature live Q&A sessions with the presenters. In addition, all conference sessions will be available for on demand viewing following the live event dates. The November 30 – December 3 agenda is now available.