Resources & Support for Parents of Young Children in Iowa
Early Childhood Iowa wants to support parents of young children. During ECI’s strategic planning year, Iowa families shared their needs as parents in our rural state. The needs expressed range from child care options within their communities that best fit parent’s values and work hours, accessible services with consideration to transportation and location, and family resources to support nurturing, quality early care, learning, and overall well-being for their child’s growth and success. Explore the resources below to get connected and enrich your child’s early development.
Early Childhood Parenting Resources by Topic
Child Development and Parent Supports
The Iowa Family Support Network (IFSN) includes information and referral for Early ACCESS, IDEA Part C services, along with Family Support Services and Group Based Parenting Programs. The IFSN contains a statewide Resource Directory, Statewide Events, National Resources, and Projects and Research related to early childhood including early intervention. Early ACCESS early intervention service system partnered with the Maternal Infant Early Childhood Home Visitation (MIECHV) system to create a single, coordinated resource.
Parentivity is a resource for parents via a web-based community that provides “just right” information for parents when you need it the most. Understanding there are no one-size-fits-all solutions to parenting, Parentivity offers personalized content proven to reduce family risks and optimize parenting resourcefulness, family resilience, child growth, and school readiness. Parentivity – a place to ask, learn, and share! Find out more at parentivity.org.
More than 650 family support professionals reach over 12,000 families and 14,000 children across Iowa. Iowa’s family support programs work with parents who invest their time to strengthen and nourish their family. Family support workers advocate, assist in enhancing parenting skills, and help caregivers find someone they can depend on. Three key areas of focus are: Maternal and Child Health, School Readiness, and Strong Families. Visit http://iowafamilysupportimpact.org/ for more information.
Early Childhood Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (EC-PBIS) provides parenting resources to promote your child’s social-emotional development. Utilize the National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations to find and download online materials such as handouts, fact sheets, and newsletters.
Complete a six-module workshop in English or Spanish to be better equipped in supporting your child's social-emotional development at home.Complete training through the Pyramid Model practices for parents and family members program.
Quality Child Care
An appropriate and high-quality environment is essential to the growth and development of young children both in and out of the home. You are the expert when it comes to deciding what is best for you and your child. Trust your instincts to help you decide what is best for your family by:
- Interviewing providers for comparison
- Calling providers to determine if they meet your basic needs such as hours care is needed and openings for your child’s age
- Scheduling a visit to tour and ask questions
- Asking for names of other parents who have taken their child to the provider (now or in the past) and contacting them to ask about their experiences
- Reviewing the information. If you are not comfortable with the child care setting, keep looking. If you find a provider you like whose program is full, ask if they will put your name on a waiting list.
Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) is a program to support quality child care throughout the state of Iowa. CCR&R is available to assist families in selecting child care providers who best meet the needs of their child and family. CCR&R Child Care Consultants provide on-site consultation to licensed preschools, centers, non-registered home providers, and Child Development Home providers.Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) provides services that help parents make informed choices about the care of their children.
Enrolling your four-year old in your local district’s Statewide Voluntary Preschool program is one way to access quality early childhood education. Statewide Voluntary Preschool programs are housed within local school district buildings and in local community partner locations. Contact your local school district for more information.
Head Start programs promote school readiness of children ages birth to five from low-income families by supporting the development of the whole child.Head Start is a locally operated, federally funded program that provides a comprehensive child development program for 3- to 5-year-old children from low-income families in 98 of Iowa’s 99 counties. The program provides services to promote academic, social and emotional development, as well as providing social, health, and nutrition services. Program eligibility is for children and families at or below the federal poverty level who receive Supplemental Security Income benefits or where children have disabilities.
Your family’s early learning and child care needs are unique to your family. Sometimes the number of hours your child will need for care is more than the above preschool programs can offer. Many times, the above preschool program options partner with a licensed child care program to provide more options for your family and child’s care and early learning needs. To find local licensed and regulated child care programs in your local area, the Iowa Department of Human Services has a way to help you find what you’re looking for.
The National Association for the Education of Young Children has a blog for you. Referred to as, “Our Learning Moments”, this blog is where families share stories about their children’s learning.
Healthy Kids and Families
211 connects families with a range of local resources. Call 211 or go to 211.org to search by city, state or zip. https://www.211iowa.org/
Energy Assistance (LIHEAP)
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program helps people with lower incomes pay their heating bills. Find your county agency by calling 515-281-3861 or go to https://humanrights.iowa.gov/dcaa/liheap
Family Investment Program (FIP)
FIP is Iowa’s Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program. This program provides cash assistance to families who have children. For more information or to apply call your local DHS office or go to dhs.iowa.gov/cash-assistance.
Healthy and Well Kids in Iowa (HAWK-I)
The hawk-i program offers free or low-cost health care coverage for children who are uninsured and less than 19 years of age. Call 800-257-8563 or go to dhs.iowa.gov/hawki.
I-Smile is a statewide program that helps kids get dental care. You can find your I-Smile coordinator at https://ismile.idph.iowa.gov/find-my-coordinator.
Food Assistance (SNAP)
The Food Assistance Program helps families purchase healthy food. Call your local DHS office for information at 877-937-3663 or go to dhs.iowa.gov/food-assistance.
Women, Infants & Children (WIC)
WIC serves families with pregnant and postpartum women or with children under the age of five. WIC provides nutritious foods, nutrition education and referrals to other health care agencies. Call 800-532-1579 or go to idph.iowa.gov/wic.