Child Care: a valuable tool for communities

The child care crisis in Iowa affects more than just parents and employers, it affects your community as a whole. In order to expand or create new businesses in your community, you must have adequate housing available for employees, as well as sufficient roads and infrastructure to accommodate expansion. These considerations are part of an economic development strategy. But what about child care?

Child care is a critical infrastructure of a community - just like housing and roads. Child care can be a valuable tool for communities to develop, grow and sustain a reliable workforce and a strong economy.

Why should communities consider child care as an economic development strategy?

  • Stronger local economy - Communities benefit and prosper when parents have access to affordable, high-quality child care.

    • Attracting and retaining qualified employees and new businesses

    • Increasing employee earnings and tax revenue

    • Building a stronger future workforce

  • Stronger local workforce - When children are cared for in a safe, nurturing setting, parents are able to give more attention to their jobs.

    • Increased workforce productivity

    • Increased number and quality of job applicants

    • Increased workforce retention

What can your community do to support quality child care in Iowa?

  • Be Informed - Learn more about the availability of child care in your county.

  • Provide Resources - Ensure all families are aware of CCR&R services, link to the CCR&R website.

  • Tax Benefits - Inquire about potential tax benefits available for employers to help employees with child care costs.

  • Advocate in Community - Support community initiatives in early childhood.

  • Educate Leaders - Speak out about the need for high-quality child care and early learning settings.

  • Connect with Legislators - Convey to policymakers your support for public investment in early education.

By pooling community resources, we can make it easier for providers to access the tools and support they need to make it financially viable to run their business. Find out how your community can support child care here.

Starting the Conversation Around Child Care Solutions

Child care is an essential part of a community's critical infrastructure. When creating strategies for your community's economic development, don't forget to include planning around child care. CCR&R can help facilitate discussions and solutions in your community, think of us as your conversation guide.

Community Partnerships

What is the result of quality child care for our economy? As our youngest citizens grow, it is everyone’s job to ensure they do so in a quality child care environment. Research shows that children in quality child care environments enter school ready to learn and are more successful in school, which in turn helps ensure a quality workforce in the future.

Unfortunately, parents are struggling to afford one of the most significant expenses in their family budget – child care. Child care costs can exceed the cost of housing, college tuition, transportation or food. Parents are finding it is a difficult choice between selecting a poor quality setting because of the cost or a program that meets the minimum requirements outlined by the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Child Care Aware of America releases report, when COVID-19 was layered onto the already fragile child care system, it shattered. Among the report’s main findings on the pandemic’s impact on child care: Picking up the Pieces - Building a Better Child Care System Post COVID-19.

The ultimate goal of CCR&R is to help every community expand access to affordable, quality child care. Let CCR&R help your community take action to improve services for our children and our economic future. Check here for data as it pertains to your county.

For more information about how you can help ensure success of Iowa's vision, "Every child, beginning at birth, will be healthy and successful," contact your local CCR&R office. If your community is looking at options to open a Child Care Center (CCC), click here for additional resources.

Toolkit for Community Child Care Solutions

Resources for communities from Iowa Women's Foundation:


Additional Resources

Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) can be a valuable tool for communities and economic development teams. We can help bridge the gaps between providers, employers and community groups to work toward quality child care for our youngest citizens. We can help your communities by providing presentations on quality child care, finding child care, subsidizing the cost of child care and investing in child care. For more information and resources for parents, please visit our families page here. CCR&R can also provide statistical data regarding child care for all 99 counties in Iowa. CCR&R staff is willing to meet with employers, economic development boards and communities to discuss the needs of families and children that will impact the local workforce.

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Iowa Workforce Development - Videos of Success

Requests for Child Care Program Information

Due to the unique relationship between CCR&R and child care programs, it is the policy of Iowa CCR&R to not release names and contact information of child care providers or programs to parties other than parents for the purpose of referrals to child care.

CCR&R will consider requests to forward pertinent information by email or by posting on our social media platforms. Requests should be made directly to the Regional Director and will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Pertinent information may include, but is not limited to: trainings for child care providers offered by approved training organizations, community resources/events and information regarding topics such as regulation changes or clarifications, health and safety, or recalls of equipment.

CCR&R will not forward information for the purpose of marketing any goods or products for sale.

Iowa CCR&R may refer parties to the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services website, where contact information for licensed Child Care Centers (CCC) and preschools, registered Child Development Homes (CDH) and nonregistered Child Care Homes (CCH) is available as public information.

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Survey Response

"Child care is an essential need for our community and our growth. Child Care Resource & Referral was able to assist with starting the conversation around child care solutions for us." - Stephanie, Economic Development Board Member