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Child care task force launched; $13M in grants awarded to create more slots


Gov. Kim Reynolds on Wednesday signed Executive Order 8, launching a new child care task force to develop a comprehensive strategy to address the child care shortage in Iowa. The governor also announced awardees of two child care grant programs totaling more than $13 million, which she said will contribute 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,” Reynolds said in a news release. “Today’s announcement will further our efforts to provide high-quality, affordable access to child care in every corner of the state.”  

The new 18-member task force will be led by Emily Schmitt, chief administrative officer of Sukup Manufacturing in Sheffield. The task force is charged with presenting recommendations to the governor to address Iowa’s child care crisis within the next 100 days.

The Department of Human Services and Iowa Workforce Development worked together to 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 child care 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,” Reynolds said. “Today’s investment allows us to leverage existing resources from DHS to further grow the scope of our program.”

The investments are significant in expanding child care availability through 64 separate projects around the state, said Beth Townsend, director of Iowa Workforce Development.

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