Lutheran Services of Iowa Refugee Child Care Program

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For many parents who arrive in the U.S. as refugees, it is difficult to find quality child care. Families are adjusting to American life and may feel hesitant leaving their child with a stranger who doesn’t speak their language, or they may not be able to afford child care.

Since 2012, LSI has worked to build bridges within the child care system for prospective and existing child care providers from various ethnic groups with two original goals in-mind:

  • Help refugee women to increase their families’ financial stability by becoming licensed in-home child care providers through the Iowa Department of Human Services (IDHS).
  • Improve the number of culturally and linguistically appropriate child care spots available for refugee parents who are seeking to go to work or school.

LSI offers translated trainings for new and existing providers, DHS application assistance, and literacy and marketing visits for approved providers. In 2018, eighteen new providers were registered. Forty-six total active providers cared for 210 children, allowing 68 families to attend work or school.

 “I am passionate about the opportunity to come alongside women to become business owners and also be able to introduce them to the early childhood education field,” shares Mandi Michaelides, LSI Refugee Community Services Childcare Specialist. This focus has allowed for greater partnerships to provide field trips and professional development opportunities that give providers confidence and pride in becoming a business owner.

In addition to this work, LSI is also offering technical assistance and outreach to other communities in starting a child care training program thanks to support from Iowa Women’s Foundation. LSI is willing to present the program toolkit to any organization that would like to explore a child care training program. You can learn more about the program here:

lutheran services of iowa ccbd focus group
refugee women practice skills during a cpr class