Iowa child care providers to receive $200 million as part of plan to expand access

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CARLISLE, IOWA — Paige Smothers wants her new business to be more than just a place where young students will spend the day. “Typically, child care centers offer parents a promise of keeping their children safe, fed and entertained all day,” Smothers said, “In my opinion, though, that is simply not enough.”

Smothers opened Sprouts Early Learning Academy in Carlisle in September, after spending a decade in early childhood education. “In offering the bare minimum of care, our children are missing out on a large learning opportunity,” she said as she explained her commitment to provide much more than that.

Her new business provided the backdrop Wednesday for Governor Kim Reynolds to release the findings of a new report from the Governor’s Child Care Task Force. Reynolds formed the group of leaders in child care, business and non-profit organizations back in March.

“This should make it easier for child care providers to run their businesses more efficiently and effectively and really focus their time on what they do best, which is providing our children with high quality care,” Governor Reynolds said.

The task force’s recommendations include assisting providers with technology, finding insurance and facilities, along with workforce development. The governor is also directing $200 million of the money that she accepted from federal COVID-19 funding. The money will fund grants to cover some of the losses providers endured during the health pandemic.

Read the full report here.

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