DES MOINES, IOWA (March 10, 2021) — Governor Kim Reynolds has signed Executive Order 8, launching a new Child Care Task Force to develop a comprehensive strategy to address the child-care shortage and barrier to work in Iowa. The governor also announced awardees of two child-care grant programs totaling $13,053,372 and contributing to the creation of more than 4,000 new child-care slots across Iowa.

“When we remove the obstacles to high-quality, affordable child-care, our families can nurture their kids while maintaining maximum freedom to enter and remain in the workforce,” said Gov Reynolds. “Today’s announcement will further our efforts to provide high-quality, affordable access to child care in every corner of the state.”

The Department of Human Services and Iowa Workforce Development worked together to strategically award $12,052,958 from the DHS Investing in Iowa’s Child Care funding program and $1,000,414 in Child Care Challenge grants to all eligible applicants throughout the state. Child Care Challenge grants support community projects to establish local childcare facilities, while the DHS funding provides support for equipment, personnel, training, and supplies for new or ongoing child care facilities.

“The Child Care Challenge was created to bolster and support innovative partnerships between leaders in the community and key stakeholders in the private and public sector,” Gov Reynolds continued. “Today’s investment allows us to leverage existing resources from DHS to further grow the scope of our program.”

“As a working mom, I know how important child care is. Child care is the backbone of our workforce and serves as an early learning platform for our children,” said Director Kelly Garcia, Department of Human Services.

“This is a big day for workforce development in Iowa because of the significant investment we are making in expanding child care availability through our investments in 64 different projects around the state,” said Director Beth Townsend, Iowa Workforce Development.

To capitalize on this investment, and in furtherance of the recommendation of the Governor's Economic Recovery Advisory Board, Gov Reynolds announced an executive order to establish a new Child Care Task Force, led by Emily Schmitt with Sukup Manufacturing. In 100 days, the task force will present recommendations to the Governor to address Iowa's child-care crisis. Additional members of the task force, representing business, non-profit and community organizations, child-care providers, and local government, include:

Jennifer Banta, Iowa City Area Business Partnership

Lisa Gates, Friendship Village

Miranda Niemi, Quality Beginnings

 David Arens, Wells Fargo

Pastor Philip Herman, Highland Park Community Development Association

Mary Janssen, Childcare Resource and Referral of Northeast Iowa

Dawn Oliver Wiand, Iowa Women’s Foundation

Dianna Williams, Ann Wickman Childcare Center YMCA

Erika Fuentes, Crittenton Center

Teree Caldwell-Johnson, Oakridge Neighborhood

Mayor Roy Buol, Dubuque

Mayor Gene Newgaard, Iowa Falls

Josh Laraby, Fairfield Economic Development Association

Jenna Ramsey, Stanton Community Development

Amy Bice, Child Development Home Provider, Cherokee

Raven Walker, Child Development Home Provider, Council Bluffs

Tessa Dinsdale, Lincoln Savings Bank

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