Posted by ICCRR in News on 4/19/2023

Child Care Consultant Connections

Child Care Resource & Referral's (CCR&R's) core services offer child care providers an entry point to the child care field to help them grow and succeed. Our Child Care Consultants work hard to build a connection with providers in order to support individual and program goals that contribute to the success and growth of their business. These connections are made by working side-by-side with providers, including listening to and supporting the direction they want to take in their early childhood careers. 

While each program may have different talents, we are proud to share the journey of one Northwest Iowa program:

“At Siouxland Christian Preschool we believe learning is a life-long journey! We provide a developmentally appropriate program that encourages your child’s growing independence while fostering creativity. Our curriculum engages children with hands-on projects, engaging academics, creative indoor and outdoor activities and interactive play experiences. We are committed to helping children reach their full potential and to partnering with parents,” states Director, Laura Wright.

“Working with Amber (Kollbaum, Child Care Consultant) has been such a benefit as we navigate through licensing and Iowa Quality for Kids (IQ4K®) standards. She is quick to offer her assistance and respond to questions. Amber has been a huge help as I work through the IQ4K application process & policy reviews. She has come in to offer assistance with challenging student behaviors and provide feedback on things we could improve on with our curriculum.”

Some of the collaborative efforts that Amber and Laura have addressed include:

  • Reviewing licensing responsibilities for a first-year director and preparing for Iowa Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) compliance visits – including regulation checklist readiness, health and safety updates and kitchen preparation.
  • Discussions for policy development and goal setting to support an IQ4K application.
  • Technical assistance to set up an i-PoWeR Professional Workforce Registry account along with a facility page and connection of all staff.
  • Classroom observations utilizing assessment tools to support teachers and implementation of social-emotional behavioral mental health practices.
  • Coordination of staff training day for Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), an evidence-based approach to supporting social competence and addressing challenging behavior in young children.
  • Brainstorming ideas for recruitment of new staff.
  • Connecting the child care program with other resources and services in the state.

“We have been blessed to be voted Best Childcare in the Siouxland Choice Awards for both 2022 & 2023. We are able to serve over 100 students in our 2-5-year-old preschool program as well as during our Preschool-5th Grade Eagle Adventure Summer Camp Program. Having a CCR&R Child Care Consultant is a crucial component for our program success,” states Laura.

If your child care program is looking for assistance with professional development planning, action plans, goal setting, continuous quality improvement, environment observations, room arrangement, behavior concerns, creating policies or any number of other free services offered by CCR&R, be sure to visit with your Child Care Consultant! Our mission is to support quality child care to ensure Iowa’s vision is met - Every child, beginning at birth, will be healthy and successful.


Data at Your Fingertips

Coming Soon! CCR&R is making changes to the county data sheets which will allow community members, partners and providers the ability to pull "point-in-time" data. This means you will get up-to-date county-level data at the time you need it regardless of the time of the year. With this exciting change you won't have to wait for the annual data sheets to get updated information!

Be on the lookout for this update on our website data page


Professional Development

Are you looking at improving the quality of your Child Development Home (CDH) business and don’t know where to start? Have you reached out to your CCR&R Child Care Consultant? We offer many no-cost services to help improve your business. One option to consider may be having your consultant guide you through creating your own professional development plan.

Child Development Home (CDH) business owners have unique needs as their environment is shared between family and home space. ChildNet 3.0 is a series that shares strategies on how to optimize time, space and resources to ensure best child care practices are being implemented. Consider adding this training to your professional development plan today!

CCR&R offers an online version as well as a face-to-face version of ChildNet 3.0. Newbies and experienced providers are enjoying the new version of ChildNet 3.0. Around the state, several online and in-person trainings are in progress.

Here are some things that providers have said about the series!

  • "I have really been enjoying the training. My instructor has been extremely helpful and prepared. I am taking away a few new ideas, even though I have been in business for many years." ~ Deb
  • "I just completed an online version and am starting my new home business. The training was very detailed and gave me lots of opportunities to collaborate with other providers. I am also excited to reach out to my consultant for help expanding on some of the ideas throughout the training. Becoming ChildNet Certified is my next business goal." ~ Shannon

ChildNet 3.0 is just one of the trainings that can help you meet your business goals. Check with your Child Care Consultant or reach out to your Training Specialist to talk about your professional development goals. We are here to help assist you become the best you can be!

If you are a child care provider looking to learn more about the high-quality, foundational professional development opportunities CCR&R offers, you can also visit our website.


Training Reimbursement Program

On March 1, 2023, an exciting new program kicked off for Iowa child care providers! Iowa Quality for Kids (IQ4K®) announced a training reimbursement opportunity for child care programs!

Funding became available to reimburse all IQ4K-eligible programs for the cost associated with IQ4K-mandated training. These eligible participants can be reimbursed $20 for every hour designated program staff spend on IQ4K-mandated training.

CCR&R spoke with one of the key support staff to this program Mary Janssen, Regional Director of CCR&R of Northeast Iowa, to find out more about this exciting opportunity!

Thank you to Mary, for sharing insights on the training reimbursement program! Below are some frequently asked questions that may be helpful for you to review:

Can you explain a little bit about why this IQ4K® Training Reimbursement program was created? 

  • “This program was created to support child care providers as they are completing professional development for their IQ4K rating.”

Where does the reimbursement funding come from? 

  • “The funding is provided by the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). We encourage programs to apply multiple times as this funding will continue into fiscal year 2024.”

If a program has a current QRS rating, can they receive funding too?

  • “Yes, eligibility requirements are listed on the application. Current programs rated in either the QRS program or IQ4K program are eligible. New or expired IQ4K programs are also eligible. Please contact your Child Care Consultant for more details and check out our IQ4K webpage for application details and links.” 

What is the best first step if a child care provider would like to see if they are eligible or to receive support on filling out their application?

  • “Visit our IQ4K website to view the application and requirements, then schedule a time to visit with your Child Care Consultant or IQ4K Specialist to learn more.”

Have you had any child care providers submit an application since the program’s launch? Is there a timeline as to when a child care provider submits their application and when they receive their reimbursement? Does reimbursement go straight to the individual or the overall program?

  • “We have had applications submitted in March! We recommend you send your paperwork to your CCR&R Consultant/Point of Contact by the beginning of each month. Applications will be processed by Exceptional Persons Inc. Once you have submitted your application, expect the reimbursement check to arrive within 30 days. Reimbursement will be paid by Exceptional Persons Inc. to the child care program. A letter will accompany the check.”

Any other comments you would like to share? 

  • “We are so excited about this program! We encourage you to participate and contact your CCR&R representative if you have more questions.”

To learn more about IQ4K® Training Reimbursement Program and how we can support your business, please check out our IQ4K website and talk with our child care team today!

Don't forget to follow Kaya, the Quality Kangaroo, on Facebook for the scoop on all things IQ4K®!


Iowa Severe Weather Preparedness Week

CCR&R’s Emergency Preparedness team works year-round to help programs #BeReady.

This March, we were able to focus on supporting providers during Severe Weather Awareness week by encouraging them to review and update their current emergency preparedness plans, along with setting a schedule to practice for emergencies! For providers that shared pictures of their emergency planning reviews, we held drawings for lanterns, first aid kits and other emergency preparedness items. CCR&R is dedicated to supporting child care providers around emergency planning – thank you to all providers who participated in this EP event! (Maybe we can add more here about the event after it happens. For sure we can utilize some of the graphics that were posted on social.)

In Iowa, the weather changes daily or even by-the-minute! Since weather events can be so unpredictable, many of us only think about weather-related emergencies when planning for emergencies, but what about other emergencies that may be present for child care programs? These could include active shooter instances, domestic family violence disturbances or even evacuation for gas leaks or other chemical exposures. Make sure you are prepared for all of these emergencies by connecting with your CCR&R Child Care Consultant who can help you create, revise and set goals around your child care program’s emergency preparedness plan.

Not only is an emergency preparedness plan required for licensing and registration in our state, but it is helpful for both children and providers to know what to do in the event an emergency strikes. These things often happen quickly, so knowing what to do and practicing drills for a variety of situations can help avoid panic and make sure children remain calm and safe.

To help providers stay on track and #BeReady, CCR&R offers a text reminder on Emergency Preparedness! Sign up today for monthly EP reminders – Text: IowaEP to 59925


Provider Appreciation Day

May 12, 2023

Join CCR&R in recognizing the important work of child care providers during the week of May 8-12 and say “thank you” to them for making a difference in children’s lives.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook as we celebrate and offer opportunities for giveaways!

#TogetherWeWill... Grow the Future!


Funding Opportunities

Governor Reynolds launched the Child Care Taskforce on March 10, 2021, to develop a comprehensive strategy to address the child care shortage and barriers to work around child care in Iowa. The final report can be found here.

The Iowa Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and statewide child care partners have announced many new programs to help child care providers in Iowa.

Be sure to review funding opportunities that may support your business:

  • Recruitment & Retention Bonus Program
  • CCA Absent Day Billing
  • Shared Services - Web-based Partnership Platform
  • WAGE$® Iowa - Salary Supplement Program

Reach out to your CCR&R Child Care Consultant with questions.


Child Care Collaborative of Iowa

Child Care Collaborative of Iowa is the home to Financial Management Consultants (FMCs). Our consultants work with registered Child Development Homes, licensed Centers or Department of Education Preschools in Iowa to support the business side of child care. We have been lucky enough to bundle our supports into one package - when programs in Iowa choose to work with us they are able to sign up to use a Child Care Management System (CCMS)…either brightwheel or Playground.

Currently, programs that sign up for one of the CCMS, will get up to one year of that CCMS subscription cost for free, along with one year of working with an FMC. When working with their FMC, the program will be able to apply for a reimbursable grant (up to $1000) for technology needs around their CCMS. During that year of working with their consultant, the programs could be working on a variety of different things including budgets, tuition rates or other business practices. Some programs are choosing to look long term and make some business goals for the future, while other programs are looking to start implementing electronic billing and fee collection. The Financial Management Consultants of Child Care Collaborative of Iowa are working to strengthen business practices and improve the quality of child care.

Child Care Collaborative of Iowa launched in October 2022 with two staff and zero child care programs singed up. Since then, we have grown! We now have 11 staff around the state, supporting more than 500 child care programs who have enrolled. We support big centers, small centers, Child Development Homes and Department of Education programs with participation! These programs are working with an FMC to better their business practices and they are connecting with other brightwheel or Playground users in Iowa with Peer-to-Peer connection groups. Some programs are starting to electronically bill or collect payment for the first time - this can be a big time saver for child care programs and we are proud to be able to support this effort!

The data bridge between brightwheel and Playground to the KinderTrack Child Care Assistance site is live and programs using either CCMS are able to emulate the steps of reporting attendance on the KinderTrack site! This has led to providers having more time to invest in their programs and spend more time with the children.

If this is a program you would be interested in learning more about:

Don't forget to follow CCCI on Facebook for the scoop on how to strengthen business practices!


To read the complete newsletter online, click here.


Tags: newsletter , ccr&r news , community partnerships , podcast , parent referrals , cost of child care , recruitment

« Back