Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) provides services that help parents make informed choices about the care of their children. Before starting your search we recommend you read Iowa CCR&R's Guide to Choosing Quality Child Care to give you a greater understanding about selecting a quality child care.
CCR&R refers parents to programs that are most likely to meet their specific needs. Referrals are provided so that parents can look into all of their options - licensed Child Care Centers (CCC), licensed Preschools, registered Child Development Homes (CDH), nonregistered Child Care Homes (CCH) and Department of Education programs. CCR&R gives referrals instead of recommendations or suggestions because CCR&R encourages parents to take the time to research child care programs and providers and make the decision that they feel will be best for their family.
Selecting a Child Care Program - Child Care Aware of America Resources
Talk to a Parent Educator
M/W 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
T/Th/F 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Sat 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Free Online Child Care Referrals 24/7 Direct Links:
Region 1 - Child care referrals in NW Iowa
Region 2 - Child care referrals in NE Iowa
Region 3 - Child care referrals in SW Iowa
Region 4 - Child care referrals in Central Iowa
Region 5 - Child care referrals in SE Iowa
Helpful Tips for Families
1. Start Early
- Locating the right child care provider may take some time.
2. Make a Call
- Contact CCR&R to obtain a customized referral of child care programs for your family and information on how to choose quality child care.
3. Visit numerous programs to observe and ask questions
- How many children are there for each adult?
- How many children are in the group?
- What training and education has the caregiver completed?
- How long has the provider been working in this program?
- Does the provider follow recommended Safe Sleep practices?
- Does the provider participate in the Iowa Quality Rating System? Find out more about Iowa's Quality Rating System.
- Who is Caring for Your Child? - Parent Guide Brochure
4. Make a choice
Think about what you saw at each visit and make the best choice for your child and family. To ease the transition to child care:
- Visit the child care program with the child to observe and participate.
- Leave the child at the child care program for short periods of time.
- Involve the child care provider in your decisions about this "easing in" period.
5. Stay Involved
- Meet regularly with the provider and ask questions.
- Visit often and participate in activities with your child.
Check out our Choosing Quality Child Care in Iowa video below or click here for the full-length video!
Check out our step-by-step video on your online child care search!
Need Help Paying for Child Care?
Depending on your family's income and size, you may qualify for a child care tax credit or subsidy. The Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) in your county can help you determine whether you meet eligibility requirements. Current assistance programs for child care include: Child Care Assistance (CCA), PROMISE JOBS and tax credits. To learn more and apply please visit the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) website on Paying for Child Care or review Child Care Assistance Comm 62.
If you think you might qualify for Child Care Assistance (CCA), talk to your provider about accepting Child Care Assistance (CCA) payments.
Some local communities may have additional financial assistance in the form of scholarships or vouchers through community organizations. Click here to find your local Early Childhood Iowa (ECI) family support programs.
Are you interested in providing child care?
Explore your Child Development Home (CDH) registration options here.
Review Child Care Center (CCC) licensing requirements here.
Research all CCR&R services here.
If you suspect a child under the age of 18 is being abused or neglected please call 800-362-2178 or visit Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS child abuse website. If you have concerns regarding a child care provider, please contact the Iowa Child Care Complaint Hotline at 844-786-1296. To increase understanding of how well programs meet the standards for licensing and registration, Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) posts information on monitoring visits. To check reports for your area, see the child care compliance and complaint report.
Here are a few resources that you might find helpful... if a link is broken, let us know. Click here to send an e-mail.