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Iowa Trailing in Child Care Study

September 26, 2008

Des Moines, IA – The National Women's Law Center recently completed an examination of Iowa's child care policies and discovered that the state lags far behind in child care assistance and what is needed to ensure child care quality and affordability.

Sheila Hansen, policy director with the Child and Family Policy Center, says one crucial area where the state falls short is in income eligibility to qualify for child care assistance.

"We don’t really know where many children are because they don't qualify for assistance. They might not be in a quality environment."

The Iowa Department of Human Services says eligibility requirements are kept high to avoid creating a waiting list and to serve as many families as possible with the money available. Hansen says the primary funding source for child care in Iowa is the federal government, which has not adequately provided support.

"The child care development block grant was supposed to be reauthorized at the federal level probably around 10 years ago. It has been put off year after year and just continues at flat funding."

In addition, Hansen contends, the reimbursement rate for providers is low, which makes if difficult for families to obtain high quality child care and for facilities to stay open.

The full report is available online at http://www.nwlc.org.

Dick Layman/Don Mathisen, Public News Service - IA