Quality Child Care for Iowa

Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) is a program to support quality child care throughout the state of Iowa. Child Care Consultants provide on-site and virtual consultation to licensed preschools, Child Care Centers (CCC), nonregistered Child Care Home (CCH) providers and registered Child Development Home (CDH) providers. The Iowa Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) 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.

CCR&R agencies are community-based programs staffed by early care and education professionals that work to connect families with quality child care services. CCR&R has a free, confidential service that offers parents customized referrals to child care programs along with several educational tools to aid in their search for quality child care. Click here to begin your child care search.

CCR&R also works to build the supply of quality child care options in communities and collects data that impact local decisions and solutions to child care needs. CCR&R's collaborate with other community partners regarding child care issues in Iowa.

Iowa CCR&R is part of a larger organization, Child Care Aware of America (formerly the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (NACCRRA)). NACCRRA began in the mid 1970's because of a community need for a system to assist families in finding quality child care. Visit Child Care Aware of America's site for more information by clicking here.


Training in a variety of topics is offered to child care providers

Our History

Iowa Child Care Resource and Referral’s roots go back to 1989, when across the nation, 60 percent of working women were mothers to infants or toddlers. Iowa saw a need to establish an agency dedicated to addressing the needs of children in care. Below is a timeline to show how Iowa Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) has grown and responded to the growing needs of the child care industry.

View Timeline


  • Social-Emotional Behavior Mental Health Specialists added for each CCR&R Agency

  • Statewide Online Professional Development Specialist added


  • Released Point-in-Time tool on the website for county data to be viewed with the most current data

  • Practice-based Coaching offered

  • Continuous Quality Improvement training offered


  • Iowa Quality For Kids was introduced

  • Statewide Social Emotional Behavior Mental Health Specialists were added

  • IQ4K Specialists were expanded to include 2 for each region

  • Second Statewide Curriculum Specialist was hired

  • NDS 2.0 database was released


  • Texting platform released

  • CCR&R assisted Department of Human Services in implementing the Investing in Iowa's Child Care response strategy for COVID - funding encouraged child care business start-ups and expansions


  • ChildNet 3.0 in both online and in-person formats released

  • Child Care Ready released

  • All our Kin Virtual Business Training Released


  • Statewide Curriculum Specialist was added

  • Parent Referrals became centralized in Region 5

  • i-PoWeR Professional Workforce Registry released


  • Child Care Complaint Hotline started


  • State-level emergency preparedness and response plan to provide a coordinated response between DHS, CCR&R and HCCI in assessing provider impact in a disaster and response to identify resources needed to restore child care services
  • Emergency preparedness and response consultation, tools, templates, and resources to help providers in developing an emergency plan


  • IQ4K Specialists were added to each region

  • Early Childhood- Positive Behavior Intervention Supports for Family Child Care – Iowa was the first in the nation to offer training and consultation


  • Child Care and Development Block Grant of 2014 (CCDBG) passed and focused on strengthening child care to better support the success of both parents and children

  • Created a statewide Website


  • Statewide Communication Specialist position added

  • Community Development Specialists were added


  • Department of Human Services implemented a new statewide service model to serve families better

  • i-Consult Credential required for all Child Care Consultants

  • Child Care Assistance applications must be submitted through CCR&R

  • Child Development Home applications must be submitted through CCR&R


  • Department of Human Services released the Early Care and Education Training Registry


  • Iowa’s 5 CCR&R agencies reached Quality Assurance to exhibit continuous quality and excellence in service delivery


  • Quality Rating System (QRS) was implemented


  • Program for Infants and Toddlers was started as a statewide initiative on Infant/Toddler training and technical support to providers


  • Funding from Department of Human Services to recruit and retain child care workers reorganized the structure of CCR&R agencies


  • Iowa Community Empowerment was created and began funding CCR&R for various programs to meet local need.

  • First Child Care Nurse Consultant began with a CCNC located in each CCR&R five lead agencies.


  • Started using NACCRRAware as a database for parent referrals


  • CCR&R Regional Office were required due to welfare reform and the impact on child care


  • CCR&R became a statewide program

  • CCR&R agencies were charged with providing services to parents, child care providers and communities


  • Training Services Began


  • Child Care Resource and Referral started in areas of Iowa

Our Mission

Iowa Child Care Resource & Referral provides resources, education and advocacy to support quality child care. CCR&R is committed to ensure that Iowa's vision is met.


Our Vision

All children, beginning at birth, will be healthy and successful.


Janet George Leadership Award

The Child Care and Early Education Network established this award in 2003 in memory of Janet George, a leader in Iowa’s Child Care Resource and Referral System since the 1980's. This award seeks to recognize those who have a passionate commitment to young children, child care and Iowa CCR&R. Recipients of the Janet George Award mentor through example, have a commitment to providing the highest level of quality service and treat every parent and provider with the utmost importance.

Leadership Award Recipients

2007 - Jerri Leighton, CCR&R of SE Iowa
2008 - Carol Jensen, CCR&R of SW Iowa, Parent Specialist
2012 - MariLynn Pierce, CCR&R of NE Iowa, Director
2014 - Mary Jo Huddleston, CCR&R of SE Iowa, Director
2015 - Julie Ingersoll, Department of Human Services
2016 - Cathy Wheatcraft, CCR&R of Central Iowa, Director
2017 - Sarah Boleyn, CCR&R of NE Iowa, Child Care Consultant Supervisor
2019 - Peg DeLoe, CCR&R of SE Iowa, Parent Services Program Manager
2019 - Linda Daggett, CCR&R of NW Iowa, Child Care Consultant Supervisor
2021 - Julie Allison, Child Care Bureau Chief, Department of Human Services
2022 - Cassie Reuter, CCR&R of NW Iowa, Program Specialist
2024 - Jen Hottle, CCR&R of NE Iowa, Training Specialist
2024 - Becky White, CCR&R of SE Iowa, Regional Director

Child Star Award

The Child Star Award seeks to recognize those who have a passionate commitment to young children, child care and the importance of early childhood in communities. Nominees could be community members, business owners, legislators or any non-CCR&R agency employee.

Leadership Award Recipients

2019 - Jeff Danielson, Iowa Senator
2019 - Dawn Oliver Wiand, Iowa Women's Foundation Executive Director
2021 - All CCR&R Staff
2022 - Dan Levi, Levi Architecture
2022 - Lori Schonhorst, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach
2024 - Micki Beard, Iowa Department of Health and Human Services