Catherine McAuley Center, Cedar Rapids

CMC’s Refugee Child Care Business Development Program assists newly arrived, economically-vulnerable refugees in registering and operating licensed in-home child care businesses. While most adult refugees are willing and able to find employment, there is a dearth of culturally- and linguistically-appropriate child care, as well as providers offering second- and third-shift care. The care that is available is in large part due to this program, through which 23 child care centers have been established. The program’s major funding source restricts eligibility to refugees who have been in the U.S. for less than 5 years, and limits how long clients can receive support. Due to eligibility requirements, many participants are economically vulnerable, not having been in the U.S. long enough to achieve self-sufficiency. On average, participants who completed the program increased their household income by 27 percent over the first six months of operations. With CMC’s focus on language, computer, and business support, it is anticipated that number will increase to 30 percent. With IWF funding, CMC would expand the program to refugees who have been in the U.S. for a longer period of time, and to immigrants who do not meet eligibility requirements.