Highlights from DonorConnect: The Childcare Crisis
Sep. 5, 2023
With a shortage of more than 350,000 childcare slots for children in Iowa, the lack of access to quality, affordable childcare is not just a problem for parents, it has become a crisis for communities. Despite the challenges, when investments are made in creative solutions and a more sustainable workforce is created, families are better positioned for financial security and children make strides in educational and social development to ensure they enter school equipped to thrive.
The Community Foundation was honored to host a meaningful discussion centered around the childcare challenge and its impact on the workforce and families, while also elevating potential solutions and innovative ideas being implemented to ensure availability, affordability, quality and culturally aligned care. It was a pleasure to hear from a panel of professionals leading efforts for community-based, regional and statewide solutions. Thank you to the following presenters for guiding us in this conversation:
Deann Cook, President and CEO, Iowa Women's Foundation
Rob Burnett, VP of Science Learning, Science Center of Iowa
Dave Stone, Advocacy Officer, United Way of Central Iowa
Ryan Page, Director of Child Care, Iowa Department of Health and Human Services
Mu Da Paw, Community Resource Navigator, Lutheran Services in Iowa
Insights from Panelists
Through the discussion with our panelists, it was clear that many issues arise from the current business model of childcare in Iowa. Challenges with the actual cost of delivering care, reimbursement rates and staffing challenges are not only issues for the childcare providers, but also for Iowa’s workforce, parents and the State.
Thankfully, the shift from childcare being considered a “parent issue” to acceptance that it’s a community challenge, invites more organizations and individuals to collaborate on diverse solutions to match needs and opportunities.
Our panelists were invited to challenge the audience on what we can each do to become involved in addressing the childcare crisis. Here’s what they said:
- Lend your voice. Reach out to your local elected leaders about these issues and the challenges they present for you, your family, friends, coworkers and neighbors.
- Advocacy on a small-scale matters too. Talk to people in your life about the childcare crisis to help elevate the conversation and awareness of the challenge.
- Know your data. When taking part in any type of advocacy work, having data points to illustrate the challenge and opportunity is key. The return on investment in childcare can be transformational for not only the child served, but for the community.
- Support for staff. A core aspect of the childcare crisis is the business model. Iowa needs more childcare providers at centers as well as in-home providers. To attract candidates to those positions it's important they be paid a livable wage.
- Get involved. Support community organizations that are working to address the childcare crisis head on. There are opportunities to volunteer, advocate and donate. Chose at least one and get involved.
The Iowa Women’s Foundation has conducted significant research and data collection on the childcare crisis in Iowa; the data presented can be accessed here. You can also learn more about the upcoming Iowa Solutions Summit being held on December 6 here.
As always, our team is here to simplify your giving to the causes you care about. Whether considering ways to maximize your giving today, involving your family in charitable conversations or planning how to leave a legacy for generations to come – we are here to create a personalized giving plan for you. Contact our team to learn more about customized giving solutions that enable you to give back in the ways that meet your unique goals. We are better together.