Free Referrals

Child Care Resource & Referral (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)
  • Department of Education Programs

CCR&R gives referrals instead of recommendations 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.

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Talk to our Parent Service Team

Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
or email our Parent Service Team:

Online Referral System

To start your search online:

  • Login as a guest or create an account to save your search
  • Search location: Type address, city or zip code search parameters
  • Select one or both: Center or Home options
  • Use filters to customize your referrals
  • Click: FIND

Online Search »

Texting Service

Our texting tool is the latest edition of our Parent Referral marketing efforts and offers a way for parents to connect with our online referral options by texting.

Text: IAchildcare to 59925

Start your search today! This parent text campaign will send no more than six texts offering referral assistance and tips to help parents with their search. (Our texting system is automated and personal responses may be delayed.)

Assistance for Families

Need help paying for child care?


  Child Care Assistance

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.

Family Emergency Preparedness

Make a plan today!


Your family may not be together if a disaster strikes, so it is important to know which types of disasters could affect your area. Know how you’ll contact one another and reconnect if separated. Establish a family meeting place that’s familiar and easy to find. While your child care provider will have a plan to protect your child if an emergency occurs at their care location, Emergency Preparedness starts at home.

  Family Emergency Preparedness

  Be Ready Iowa


  Red Cross

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 ABC's of Safe Sleep (SpanishBurmeseSwahili) practices?
    • Does the provider participate in Iowa Quality for Kids (IQ4K®) Quality Rating and Improvement System?
    • Can I see your Emergency Preparedness Plan?
    • In the event of an emergency that leads to an evacuation, where is the new pick-up location for reunification with families?
    • Make the Most of Your Child Care Visit - from Child Care Aware of America
  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:
  5. Stay Involved
    • Meet regularly with the provider and ask questions.
    • Visit often and participate in activities with your child.
    • Ask about planned emergency drills (both before and after) and updates to the program's Emergency Plan.

Home Business

Looking to offer child care in your home?


Prevention Services

How to report your concerns about the care of children?


If you suspect a child under the age of 18 is being abused or neglected:

  Call 800-362-2176 - Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

  Visit Iowa's child abuse website


If you have concerns regarding a child care provider:

  Call 844-786-1296 - Iowa Child Care Complaint Hotline

  View Child Care Compliance and Complaint Reports


  For Every Child - Child abuse prevention, education & treatment programs for children & families.

Request Materials or Supplies to Share with Families »

Quality Rating and Improvement System


Iowa Quality for Kids (IQ4K®) is Iowa’s Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) for HHS-licensed or registered child care programs. IQ4K provides five levels of quality that programs can achieve and allows programs to assess their current grade across all areas of programming and devise a structured plan to increase the overall level of program quality.

Benefits of IQ4K for children and families:

  1. Enhanced nutrition and physical activity plans
  2. Planned family and community partnerships
  3. Improved environment for children
  4. Assessment tools implemented for teaching and learning
  5. Continued professional development for providers

Ask if your child care program participates in IQ4K!

Check out our Parent Referral Services video!

Check out how we help your family with Success for Life!



Parent Survey Response

"Had very good service, was given all the information I asked for and also the worker who helped me was very kind and courteous. She took time and listened to everything I needed and gave me lists about what I asked for." - George