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November 2021 Monthly Musings

Shared Services Update

On March 10, 2021, Governor Reynolds launched the Child Care Task Force to develop a comprehensive strategy to address the child care shortage and barrier to work in Iowa. A wide array of stakeholders representing child care providers, business, economic development, city government, Child Care Resource & Referral and the Iowa Women’s Foundation served on the Task Force. On November 3, 2021, the Task Force released final recommendations. 

One Task Force recommendation is to “develop a shared services model that allows child care providers access to a statewide, web-based partnership platform for support on various business operations.” The Task Force recognized that business training and financial management coaching, automation and shared services are promising practice strategies to ensure cost-effective administration to maximize resources and ensure sustainability of child care businesses.

Early Childhood Iowa, in collaboration with the Iowa Department of Human Services and with technical assistance from Opportunities Exchange, is launching a multi-phase project with proven success in other states. The Business Supports to Create Sustainable Outcomes for the Child Care Industry will implement strategies to increase profitability, sustainability, and quality of child care businesses throughout Iowa. Phase I details are now available.

Child Care Stabilization Grants Coming Soon

Iowa was allocated $200 million from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to provide stabilization subgrants to current licensed and registered child care providers. DHS has contracted with a partner agency to help support a provider-friendly and efficient application process. This web-based application will be available in the upcoming weeks and DHS will send notification when the application is available. This information will also be available on the DHS website.

Child Care Assistance (CCA) Update

As a result of the Governor’s Task Force report, starting November 1, 2021 the Department of Human Services (DHS) will be using American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars to increase the number of monthly absence days for the Child Care Assistance (CCA) program from 4 to 6. We have heard from many of you and recognize that a change to allow more absence days has been extremely helpful during the COVID-19 pandemic and we are pleased that we will be able to provide these financial supports through the end of September 2023.
Once again, thank you for your efforts in providing child care to the children of Iowa. If you have any questions, please contact your local DHS or PROMISE JOBS worker.

Iowa Navigator: Health Insurance Enrollment Support

Iowa Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) and the Iowa Department of Human Services have collaborated to share health care coverage options with the support of Iowa Navigator. The purpose of the Iowa Navigator organization is to help people make informed health insurance policy/coverage decisions and assist people with enrolling in plans. The organization is statewide and provides their services for free. This year, Iowa Navigator added a Spanish-speaking navigator and they hired more staff (navigators) to help customers.

2021 T.E.A.C.H. and WAGE$ Annual Report

The 2021 T.E.A.C.H. and WAGE$ Annual Report is now available!  We are so proud of our program recipients who produced great outcomes again this year. T.E.A.C.H. and WAGE$ are investing in and supporting the Early Care and Education Workforce as they work towards increased education, compensation, and retention.

Iowa AEYC’s Moving the Needle on Compensation Final Recommendations

The goal of this work was to address early childhood educator compensation through the development of new strategies, better public policies and/or increased funding. A diverse team was formed and met over the course of the last year. The final recommendations are a result of their collective vision that Iowa’s ECE workforce is recognized as professional and compensated competitively. The document includes a list of comprehensive strategies by which to reach this vision.