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Support for the Early Childhood Workforce

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Resources for Providers, Support Services, & More

Working in early childhood care, early learning, or family support services provides a range of opportunities to support young children and their families.Whether you are currently working in the early childhood field as a child care provider, licensed preschool teacher, family support provider, or have a job where you work with young children and families in an early learning, care, or family support role; the following resources will provide you with a professional development connection. 


Early Childhood Iowa, in collaboration with the Iowa Department of Human Services, and with technical assistance from Opportunities Exchange, is launching a multi-phase Shared Services project with proven success in other states. This project is in response to a recommendation in the Governor’s Child Care Task Force Report. Shared Services is a framework or management structure that allows child care businesses to pay attention to providing high quality teaching and learning, while simultaneously making sure that business and administrative tasks are performed well.

To keep stakeholders in Iowa’s child care system, such as child care providers, early care and education organizations, etc., informed about the progress of the Shared Services project, we will provide monthly updates and project presentation updates. 

Shared Services Monthly Project Updates

Shared Services Project Guides, Reports, and FAQs

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ECI Education Pathway

The ECI Education Pathway helps individuals make decisions about the training and education needed to develop a dynamic career in early childhood care and learning. Using an interactive process, the individual provides their current level of training or education, whether they are new to the field or are employed within early childhood, discovers potential learning opportunities to advance within early care and education, and develops a personal professional development plan. 

Go to Education Pathway

Iowa Early Care and Education Teaching Roles Career Pathway

Iowa Early Care and Education Program Administrator Roles Career Pathway

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Iowa’s Early Childhood and School Age Care Workforce Registry (i-PoWeR)

Iowa's Early Childhood and School Age Care Professional Workforce Registry (i-PoWeR) provides access to Iowa Department of Human Services-approved training. Anyone can search, view, enroll, and track successfully completed training. The information is stored in one centralized location and is available to use as a paperless record of completion. The web-based system tracks approved training completion, personal professional achievement, and helps explore new learning opportunities. i-PoWeR helps Iowa regulators, home providers, center staff, programs, and training systems track required professional development completion.

Go to i-PoWeR

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Area Education Agency (AEA) Learning Online

AEA Learning Online provides access to professional development opportunities through self-paced training; online courses for relicensure credit through the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners and graduate credit through Drake University, Morningside College, and Grandview University; and ongoing professional development opportunities. AEA Learning Online helps schools meet Iowa reporting requirements by providing a learning management system for districts and organizations. AEA Learning Online partners with the Iowa Department of Human Services to provide ongoing professional learning for early childhood professionals that is self-paced and can be personalized to fit professional learning needs.

Go to AEA Online

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Iowa Association for Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health

The Iowa Association for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health has three primary goals: to enhance the quality and capacity of Iowa’s early childhood professionals to meet the social, emotional, and behavioral needs of young children and their families; to increase public awareness and understanding of the need for high-quality, nurturing relationships during infancy and early childhood; and to promote comprehensive and integrated services and supports for those working together to help children achieve their full social and emotional potential. 

Go to Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health


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Head Start

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 supports children’s growth and development in a positive learning environment through a variety of services, which include early learning, health, and family well-being. A key part of the training and technical assistance provided by Head Start to its grantees comes from the National Centers. The National Centers offer resources and approaches to build program capacity and encourage consistent practices. Available resources include Head Start Inclusion, Early Childhood Development, Teaching, and Learning; Early Childhood Health and Wellness; Parent, Family, and Community Engagement; Program Management and Fiscal Operations; and Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships.

Go to Iowa Head Start


Iowa Association for the Education of Young Children (Iowa AEYC)

Iowa AEYC promotes high-quality early learning for all children, birth through age 8, by connecting practice, policy, and research. We promote a diverse, dynamic early childhood profession, and support all who care for, educate, and work on behalf of young children. Iowa AEYC provides support through T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® IOWA, Child Care WAGE$® IOWA, Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential™, Farm to Early Care and Education, Iowa Early Learning Standards, and other resources.
T.E.A.C.H. is a scholarship program that provides the early childhood workforce with access to educational opportunities. WAGE$ offers salary supplements, based on the individual's level of formal education and commitment to her or his program. The Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential™ is a nationally recognized credential earned by those working in the early care and education field. The CDA credential is a recognized part of Iowa child care regulations, is a way to earn points on Iowa's Quality Rating System (QRS), and is part of achieving some accreditation standards.

Go to Iowa AEYC

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Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R)

CCR&R agencies are community-based programs staffed by early care and education professionals that work to connect families with quality child care services. Child Care Consultants provide on-site consultation to licensed preschools, Child Care Centers (CCC), non registered Child Care Home (CCH) providers and registered Child Development Home (CDH) providers. The Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) is the regulatory agency for early childhood care and education. CCR&R supports providers in complying with state regulations. Training in a variety of topics is offered to child care providers to not only meet licensing/registration requirements but to also improve the quality of care. CCR&R facilitates many types of professional development opportunities for the adults who care for our youngest citizens.

Go to Iowa CCR&R


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Directory of Early Childhood Programs at Iowa Colleges

The Directory of Early Childhood Programs at Iowa Colleges and Universities provides information to assist the early childhood workforce in making college choices. The directory includes information regarding Child Development Associate (CDA) programs, Certificates of Specialization Early Childhood or Early Childhood Administration, Early Childhood Education Diploma Programs, Early Childhood Education Associate Degree Programs, Early Childhood Education Endorsement Programs, Early Childhood Education M.S., M.A., and Ph.D. Programs offered by Iowa higher education institutions. Information contained in the directory, prepared by T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® IOWA at the Iowa Association for the Education of Young Children (Iowa AEYC),  is subject to change at any time.

View College Programs

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Implementing Strategies to Support Child Care Businesses

Shared Services is a nationally recognized strategy in which small, independent programs share the cost of administrative services, in order to reduce overhead and improve financial performance.

Governor's Child Care Task Force Report (November 2021)

Re-invent vs Re-build: Let's Fix the Child Care System (January 5, 2022), Opportunities Exchange Presentation

Understanding the Business Environment for Iowa Providers (March 4, 2022), Opportunities Exchange Presentation 

March 2022 Shared Services Public Update

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ECI Equity Guiding Principles

An equitable early childhood system that ensures each and every child is healthy and successful benefits all Iowans, regardless of race, ethnicity, culture, and language. The Early Childhood Iowa Equity Guiding Principles provide an approach to constructing these systems, including guidelines such as policy making, system financing, increasing quality, ensuring services are accessible to all children, and that Iowa has a diverse and effective early childhood workforce. By intentionally using an equity lens, ECI’s system-building efforts at the state and local levels take into account the impact of systemic bias and racism at personal, institutional, and structural levels.

Read ECI Equity Principles

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Family Support Workforce in Iowa

Family support is an array of community-based services designed to enable and empower families by building on individual and family capabilities that support and strengthen parenting capabilities and overall family functioning. Home visiting is a strategy for delivering family support services. Group-based parent educators provide similar family support services but in a group setting for multiple participating families. Different programs that use home visiting as a delivery method can have very different goals e.g., preventing child abuse, school readiness, parent involvement, and advocacy. Iowa currently has a patchwork of family support programs operating at various levels of effectiveness that vary in goals, program models they follow, funding levels, and training and support for staff.


DPH Guidance

The Iowa Department of Public Health provides further guidance for family support services in Iowa; including the federally funded Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program.

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The Institute

To support ongoing professional development and competency assessment, the Institute was developed to offer Family Support Professionals everywhere the opportunity to learn new skills and grow their careers. Through engaging, online modules and a personalized learning map feature, professionals take charge of their growth and advancement.

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Family Support Credentialing

In conjunction with developing skilled and responsive family support professionals, it is equally important to establish program credentialing. Lutheran Services in Iowa coordinates the Iowa Family Support Credential (IFSC) for the state of Iowa, more about the program can be found at the Iowa Family Support Technical Assistance Network website. Credentialing and technical assistance are guided by a set of standards.

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The DAISEY Reporting Database

DAISEY, which stands for Data Application and Integrated Solutions for the Early Years, is a shared measurement system designed to help communities see the difference they make in the lives of children and their families who are at risk. Family support professionals utilize DAISEY to enter required demographic and assessment data on the families they serve which, is then utilized to generate de-identified, population-based, quarterly reports. Family support programs can then access their aggregated data through interactive intelligence reports that are built into DAISEY. The DAISEY Iowa Family Support website is a family support provider’s resource for all things DAISEY (training materials, webinars to learn more about data entry, data dictionary, and program instructions).

Family Support Workforce Login