LSI’s Child Care Business Development program has worked to build bridges within the child care system for prospective and existing child care providers from various ethnic groups. This program does the following:
* Helps refugee women increase their families’ financial stability by becoming registered in-home child care providers through the Iowa Department of Human Services (IDHS);
* Improves the number of quality culturally and linguistically appropriate child care spots available for refugee parents who are seeking to go to work or school;
* Increases retention of registered child care providers who have limited English and American business backgrounds, to keep the pool of available culturally-competent child care slots at a reasonable level;
* Offers support to other refugee populations and their advocates who want to increase registered child care homes in their area of Iowa.
LSI provides interpreted DHS-approved training, registration support, literacy and business development home visits, walk-in technical assistance, and connection to child care professional development networks. LSI has worked with over 170 women from 16 language groups to take steps to become registered child care providers since 2012. In 2021, LSI worked with nearly 50 active providers caring for over 200 children, representing more than 73 refugee families. In addition to offering training to providers in Central Iowa, LSI provides assistance to other communities interested in starting similar childcare training programs. Until 2018, LSI was the only organization in Iowa offering culturally and linguistically appropriate childcare training to the refugee population. LSI also shares best practices with the Catherine McAuley Center in Cedar Rapids, and is exploring ways to support a child care training program to meet Waterloo community needs in collaboration with the local childcare task force.