Day 9 of 21
Between 2013 and 2018, the number of child care programs in the state of Iowa decreased by 42%, according to Iowa Child Care Resource & Referral.
In the same timeframe, the number of programs accepting Child Care Assistance benefits from the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) decreased by 46%. This decline makes life much more difficult for the most vulnerable parents who cannot afford quality and safe child care without that assistance.
Across the nation, we have a disproportionate number of child care deserts in rural and low-income communities, with access especially limited for families and caregivers who are Black, Indigenous, or People of Color (BIPOC), as well as those who work irregular or nontraditional hours.
The research program Diversity Data Kids found that:
- 70% of all working parents in the U.S. have full-time, year-round employment.
- 21% of parents who work full time and year-round are low-income.
- 13% of all white working parents are low-income.
- 40% of all Hispanic working parents are low-income.
- 32% of all Black working parents are low-income.
- While the same percentage of parents work full time across all racial and ethnic groups, Black and Hispanic parents are more than twice as likely to be low-income.
- Learn about the Child Care Assistance (CCA) program from the Iowa Department of Human Services.
- Discover what constitutes a child care desert.
- Learn about the challenges that parents and guardians face when searching for child care.
- Understand the characteristics of quality child care and early childhood education, as well as how providers are held accountable in Iowa.
Choose one or more of these daily activities to learn about today’s topic. Plan to set aside 15 to 30 minutes to complete the activities and journal about your thoughts and feelings.
Watch “Choosing Quality Child Care in Iowa (Overview)” (6:10) from Iowa Child Care Resource & Referral to learn why quality child care is important and what it looks like in Iowa.
Watch these short news segments about the state of child care in Iowa:
- “Here's How the State Is Working to Improve Child Care Access, Services in Iowa” (1:34)
- “Some Parents Must Choose Between Child Care or Having a Job During Pandemic” (2:09)
- “Iowa Struggles With Child Care and Workforce Crises” (1:52)
Read “Child Care Deserts Draining Iowa Families and the State” (4 min) from Iowa’s News Now about how difficult it is for parents to find child care they can trust as centers around the state close due to COVID-19.
Read “'This Is Not Working.' Parents Juggling Jobs and Child Care Under COVID-19 See No Good Solutions” (12 min) from PBS NewsHour about one mother’s experience trying to balance her career as an attorney with her responsibilities as a parent during COVID-19.
Capture what you learned by writing down your thoughts and feelings about today's content.
- What was your “aha moment” (moment of surprise or new information)?
- Does this information change your perspective?
- How will you use what you learned today to create more equitable spaces?
Additional Resources & Activities
If you would like to dig deeper into this issue, check out these additional resources. We encourage you to revisit this material when you have more time. Feel free to come back to this topic as often as you’d like!
- Watch “Close Up: Advocates Discuss Steps Taken to Address Iowa's Child Care Crisis” (28:16) from KCCI for an in-depth look at the child care crisis in Iowa and what steps the state can take to improve the situation.
- Read “9.8 Million Working Mothers in the U.S. Are Suffering From Burnout” (6 min) from CNBC to learn how mothers — who traditionally take on more parenting responsibilities — navigate work, home, and the pandemic.
- Read “Unregulated Providers Fill in to Meet Iowa's Child Care Needs. Should We Be Worried?” (12 min) from The Gazette to learn about one community with a Facebook group that connects providers with open spots to parents looking for care. While some qualified providers took advantage of the opportunity, so did others who weren’t fit to provide care.
- Read “Child Care Deserts: Developing Solutions to Child Care Supply and Demand” (28 pages) from Child Care Aware of America for a deep dive into child care deserts and possible policy solutions.
- Read “More Than Half of Americans Live in ‘Child Care Deserts,’ and We’re Not Doing Much to Fix It” (3 min) from Slate to learn about the disproportionate impact child care deserts have on families of color.
- Read the Child Care Assistance brochure (3 min) from the Iowa Department of Human Services to learn about eligibility for benefits.
Share your reflections on today’s topic on social media using the hashtag #IowaEquityChallenge.
Next Topic: Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)