Des Moines, IA (STL.News) Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has signed Executive Order 8 launching a new Child Care Task Force to develop a comprehensive strategy to address the child care shortage and barrier to work in Iowa. The governor also announced awardees of two child care grant programs totaling $13,053,372 and contributing to the creation of more than 4,000 new child care slots across Iowa.
“When we remove the obstacles to high-quality, affordable child care, our families can nurture their kids while maintaining maximum freedom to enter and remain in the workforce,” said Gov. Reynolds. “Today’s announcement will further our efforts to provide high-quality, affordable access to child care in every corner of the state.”
The Department of Human Services and Iowa Workforce Development worked together to strategically award $12,052,958 from the DHS Investing in Iowa’s Child Care funding program and $1,000,414 in Child Care Challenge grants to all eligible applicants throughout the state. Child Care Challenge grants support community projects to establish local childcare facilities, while the DHS funding provides support for equipment, personnel, training, and supplies for new or ongoing child care facilities.
“The Child Care Challenge was created to bolster and support innovative partnerships between leaders in the community and key stakeholders in the private and public sector,” Gov. Reynolds continued. “Today’s investment allows us to leverage existing resources from DHS to further grow the scope of our program.”
“As a working mom, I know how important child care is. Child care is the backbone of our workforce and serves as an early learning platform for our children,” said Director Kelly Garcia, Department of Human Services.
“This is a big day for workforce development in Iowa because of the significant investment we are making in expanding child care availability through our investments in 64 different projects around the state, ” said Director Beth Townsend, Iowa Workforce Development.
To capitalize on this investment, and in furtherance of the recommendation of the Governor’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, Governor Reynolds announced an executive order to establish a new Child Care Task Force, led by Emily Schmitt with Sukup Manufacturing. In 100 days, the task force will present recommendations to the Governor to address Iowa’s child care crisis. Additional members of the task force representing business, non-profit and community organizations, child care providers, and local government include:
- Jennifer Banta, Iowa City Area Business Partnership
- Lisa Gates, Friendship Village
- Miranda Niemi, Quality Beginnings
- David Arens, Wells Fargo
- Pastor Philip Herman, Highland Park Community Development Association
- Mary Janssen, Childcare Resource and Referral of Northeast Iowa
- Dawn Oliver Wiand, Iowa Women’s Foundation
- Dianna Williams, Ann Wickman Childcare Center YMCA
- Erika Fuentes, Crittenton Center
- Teree Caldwell-Johnson, Oakridge Neighborhood
- Mayor Roy Buol, Dubuque
- Mayor Gene Newgaard, Iowa Falls
- Josh Laraby, Fairfield Economic Development Association
- Jenna Ramsey, Stanton Community Development
- Amy Bice, Child Development Home Provider, Cherokee
- Raven Walker, Child Development Home Provider, Council Bluffs
- Tessa Dinsdale, Lincoln Savings Bank