Posted by ICCRR in News on 2/12/2021

February 12, 2021

Exciting times for Child Care Resource & Referral of Northeast Iowa (CCR&R) today! CCR&R has been working with the Black Hawk Child Care Coalition and their story has been featured nationally with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation!

Partnership Makes Dreams Come True

Expanding child care access for more people in Iowa - In 2015, Black Hawk County saw a 40 percent decline in childcare centers and programs. This decline prompted an urgent need to fill the childcare access gap within the community.

The Coalition created a co-op of businesses that came together to form Child Care Services. The idea was to financially support childcare services in the community by working alongside businesses to build relationships and elevate the childcare conversation. It was important to communicate to area businesses that a lack of childcare is an employment barrier for many workers. They sought to champion businesses that were willing to come forward and lead childcare partnerships.

In spring of 2018, Hawkeye Community College (HCC) approached Exceptional Persons Inc. (EPI) to discuss partnership options. HCC was opening a new building off campus and didn’t want to manage another child care center alone. The current child care facility on campus had been losing money each year. HCC’s leadership team met with a Coalition team member to brainstorm ideas and eventually, selected EPI as their partner.

In fall of 2018, Friendship Village, a senior living community, approached Levi Architecture to look at potential properties for childcare services for their employees and the community. It was determined a new build was the best option. Friendship Village owned land across from their campus. Plans began in fall of 2018 and ground was broken by December 2018. The Child Care Center opened in July 2019.

Is This a Repeatable Model?

It’s important to understand this program can be replicated. The key is helping businesses understand that this is not a simple process that can operate without collaboration, it requires bringing the right people together to form sustainable solutions. This program is currently working in 16 communities across the state, with intention to further expand childcare access. Iowa Women’s Foundation is working with more than 30 communities, and the co-op business model in the Cedar Valley (Cedar Valley Kids) is currently projecting to operate on a two-year timeline.

To read the complete story, visit the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation webpage.


Tags: black hawk child care coalition , community , partnership

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