Child Care Is a Community Issue
Iowa is in the middle of a child care crisis affecting not only our parents, but our workforce, our businesses, and our communities:
Because child care is a community issue, it is up to all of us—parents, business leaders, educators, political representatives and child care providers—to work together to solve this crisis. But there is not one stand-alone solution, and there are plenty of challenges:
- We need to make child care accessible to ALL Iowans, including those who live and work in underserved rural areas.
- Not only do we need to increase access to everyday child care for working parents, we need more nontraditional options for parents who work outside of the 9-5 schedule, including early-morning and late-night shift workers, as well as parents who attend school.
- We need to make child care more affordable, while ensuring that providers earn a fair and livable wage.
What IWF Is Doing
IWF is committed to engaging the public around issues related to child care. Currently, we are working on two initiatives to bring the topic front and center and rally our communities to do something about it:
Building Community Child Care Solutions Tour
Building Community Child Care Solutions is a state-wide initiative led by IWF that was created to explore the tactics and strategies that can help communities tackle a range of child care-related issues.
Much like the SHE MATTERS tours, we’ve taken Building Community Child Care Solutions on the road to different Iowa communities, where we’re talking to child care providers, nonprofits, business leaders, and working parents to discuss the issues at hand and the solutions needed to help Iowa families prosper.
During each visit, we present participants with a “tool kit” that outlines how different organizations and institutions can partner together to begin planning and implementing various solutions. The solutions include:
- Building new and expanding existing child care centers.
- Support child care entrepreneurs.
- Encouraging local businesses to expand and/or add child care benefits, including offering in-house care to workers.
- Working with community colleges to inform and educate the next generation of child care providers.
- Supporting before-and after-school programing.
- And creating viable child care options for second- and third-shift workers.
Child Care Solutions Fund
While there are several organizations committed to helping solve Iowa’s child care crisis—many struggle to secure the financial support they need. As a grantmaking foundation, we understand the crucial role funding plays in helping nonprofits accomplish their missions. That’s why the Iowa Women’s Foundation established the Child Care Solutions Fund.
Funds from this initiative will be invested in organizations and institutions that focus on strategies to increase women’s economic security by decreasing the work force gap through access to quality, affordable child care.
Read our blog here to learn more about the Child Care Solutions Fund and its first grant recipients.
As IWF collaborates across the state, this work could not be accomplished without the support of many partners who are committed to tackling the child care crisis. As a huge piece of the puzzle to women’s economic self-sufficiency and for the growth and strength of Iowa’s businesses, we are grateful to our partners’ support as we work to overcome this barrier.
Women’s Funding Network (WFN) has selected IWF as one of nine national women’s funds to receive a grant that increases the support and resources necessary to advance economic mobility among women and girls. This grant will provide resources to continue to advance the child care initiative throughout the state of Iowa. To learn more about this partnership, we invite you to read the details about the Economic Mobility Hub.
How Can I Be a Part of the Solution?
- Join the Building Community Child Care Solutions task force and use your talents to help us implement solutions. Download our contact list to get in touch with the person leading efforts in your community.
- Stay informed on the issues and check in on the progress we’re making by liking and following IWF on Facebook and reading our blog.
- Invest in organizations and institutions focused on innovative strategies to combating the child care crisis by donating to the Child Care Solutions Fund.