• CB Chamber Addresses Child Care Crisis

    COUNCIL BLUFFS, IOWAAccording to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Child care is a two-generation workforce issue, essential to supporting the workforce of today and vital to develop our workforce of tomorrow. Parents rely on child care to help them enter, re-enter, or remain in the workforce, but access to affordable, quality child care is hard to come by. Now due to the COVID-19 pandemic, families are experiencing additional challenges and finding child care is nearly impossible.
    The US Chamber of Commerce Foundation, reported:

    • Childcare issues result in an estimated $935 million loss annually for Iowa’s economy.
    • Iowa loses an estimated $153 million annually in tax revenue due to childcare issues.
    • Absences and employee turnover cost Iowa employers an estimated $781 million per year.
    Child care in Iowa appears to be reaching the level of a crisis. The availability of quality, affordable child care for working Iowans has been a longstanding workforce challenge that has been exacerbated by the pandemic.
    “When Iowans have access to quality child care, they can pursue training and employment opportunities in high-demand jobs in the state,” said Gov. Reynolds. “Let’s remove the obstacles to high-quality affordable child care so Iowa families can nurture their kids while parents maintain the maximum freedom to enter and remain in the workforce. Tackling the childcare crisis in Iowa not only expands opportunities for Iowa families but provides our employers with a steady and stable workforce.”  
    Through our workforce development efforts, the Council Bluffs Area Chamber of Commerce has begun to address the childcare crisis in our community. Alicia Frieze, workforce development director for the CB Chamber, has established a Child Care Collaborative to develop solutions to six challenge area’s facing our community’s childcare providers. The CB Chamber is partnering with the Iowa Women’s Foundation and their statewide network to address the issues facing our community.  “We need to assure that our community has quality child care available so our businesses can continue to have a dedicated workforce and so that our children, the workforce of the future, have access to high quality and affordable child care.”
    According to the Iowa Women’s Foundations research:
    • 65% of parents are late to work or leave early because of childcare issues.
    • Working parents miss an average of 4.3 days of work every six months and are late to work or leave early an average of 7.5 times in that same 6-month period.
    • 63% of parents say childcare costs influence their careers.
    • 85% wish their employers offered childcare benefits.
    The CB Chamber’s Workforce Collaborative, a network of workforce professionals who are dedicated to moving the needle on issues impacting the workforce, continues to establish partnerships with organizations to help address workforce issues such as child care.  The Iowa Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) is another one of these partners.  CCR&R is a program to support quality child care throughout the state of Iowa. Their childcare consultants provide on-site consultation to licensed providers. The Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) is the regulatory agency for early childhood care and education. CCR&R supports providers in complying with state regulations. Training in a variety of topics is offered to childcare providers to not only meet licensing/registration requirements but to also improve the quality of care. CCR&R facilitates many types of professional development opportunities for the adults who care for our youngest citizens.
    Currently, the CB Chamber is partnering with CCR&R to help recruit new childcare providers in southwest Iowa.  CCR&R are offering a free professional development series. Child Care Ready by CCR&R is designed to help individuals seeking a career in early childhood education. This accelerated professional development series includes coaching, mentorship and best practices to help individuals become Child Care Ready! Childcare providers will serve children and families in your community while making an income from home. This educational series offers all the pre-certification training required to start as a childcare center staff or start a home childcare business. The Child Care Ready series can assist communities in building childcare solutions. CCR&R reports that parents in Iowa are struggling with the lack of childcare slots.  This is a great opportunity for anyone interested in opening your own business! 
    Are you interested in your own business?  Does this vision include children, creativity and flexibility? We encourage you to consider opening your own in-home childcare business!
    CCR&R Child Care Consultants can offer free guidance to start and maintain a quality childcare business. They give information on regulations, additional sources of income, business practices and child development. The CCR&R Child Care Consultant provides support to all childcare businesses, whether it is in a home, a center or a preschool. If you are currently working in the childcare field and not working with your local consultant, call or text (712) 579-9057 today!
    “Did you know that in Iowa, family childcare home providers are able to serve five or fewer children at any one time without being registered with the Iowa Department of Human Services?,” says Shirley Urich, community development specialist for Iowa Child Care Resource & Referral.  “If the home provider is serving six or more children, then they must be registered. CCR&R is here to help with the process of registration and to assist with the location of many resources that benefit the business, such as receiving funding reimbursement on the Child and Adult Care Food Program, local grant projects to support quality and being identified as quality on the Iowa Quality Rating System.”
    For more information on services to assist childcare providers, please contact Iowa Child Care Resource & Referral at (712) 579-9057 or visit www.iowaccrr.org.