Child Care Shortage Advocacy Work Continues

Jun 22, 2020

The Economic Alliance, along with business leaders, daycare providers, higher education professionals, members of rural communities, elected officials, K-12 educators, health care professionals and small business owners from across Linn County have been working diligently together to find solutions to help solve the child care shortage in the state of Iowa. The Economic Alliance’s mission is to drive economic, workforce and population growth strategies and to help businesses succeed. Access to quality, affordable child care makes our region and employers more attractive to potential residents, it means businesses have higher employee retention, and employees are more productive when they can be on time and present at work.

Earlier this year, the Iowa Women’s Foundation, (IWF) brought the child care provider challenge to the forefront in the State of Iowa with legislators and Linn County businesses. At that time, the statistics stated that Iowa businesses were losing $675 million in unrealized annual GDP due to child care issues. COVID-19 has made the working parent, now in many cases, a full-time child care provider, challenges a reality. Linn Area Partners Active in Disaster was placed immediately into action in helping to support and assist our local childcare providers ( LAP-AID) while the child care solutions coalition that was formed at the end of 2019 through the Iowa Women’s Foundation, Linn County Early Childhood Iowa and the Economic Alliance was put on pause until many business re-opening efforts officially started. A recent state-wide study of childcare providers conducted by DHS on April 10-17, 2020 resulted in Linn County’s 114 respondents stating that 78% of their businesses had experienced financial loss and 39% were unsure if they were planning to reopen.

Considered essential to the re-opening and recovery efforts of many businesses, the Economic Alliance along with our partners in the childcare solution coalition effort, continue to work on solutions and advocacy efforts. Along with our partners, we continue to advocate during this time for the following:

  • Recognize the infant and toddler child care crisis as a critical workforce issue within our recovery efforts and the Future Ready Iowa initiative
  • Policies and programs that incentivize businesses, communities and nonprofits to develop solutions that address child care shortage and increase affordability
  • Policies that address the child care “cliff effect” to increase access to quality and affordable child care assistance and allow more employees to enter the workforce
  • Early childhood (0-5 years) in Iowa’s Education priorities to ensure children are provided early opportunities and a strong foundation for lifelong learning
  • A comprehensive and integrated early care, health, and education system for the youngest Iowans by restoring funding to Early Childhood Iowa to 2008 level

If you are interested in joining the effort, the Linn County Childcare Solutions Coalition team consists of three subcommittees:

Business & Child Care focusing on Building and expanding, and 2nd and 3rd shift Solutions

with the objective to work with the Linn County business community by creating an awareness campaign, provide tool kits for businesses and entrepreneurs, help support a clearinghouse of child care providers, determine areas of need heat maps that identify options for brick and mortar facilities, advocating for public policy change and support non-English speaking community solutions.

Child Care Provider Solutions

with the objective to recruit, retain, and support quality child care and early education providers. The provider pipeline.

Before and After School Programming Solutions

with the objective to increase availability of before and after school programming to Linn County youth in need.

For more information, contact Jamie Toledo at jtoledo@cedarrapids.org.




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