Government

Iowa Department of Human Services gives $5.8 million to child care providers

Hadley Boeke, 3, and Anderson Meyne, 4, listen as Laurie Benner (left) talks with them while they dig for worms in a tab
Hadley Boeke, 3, and Anderson Meyne, 4, listen as Laurie Benner (left) talks with them while they dig for worms in a table full of dirt at Learning Begins Child Development Center in North Liberty on Wednesday, July 10, 2019. Laurie Benner will move into a newly constructed chid care center this fall, which has long been a dream of hers after years of providing child care out of her home. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

Iowa Department of Human Services has doled out about $5.8 million in federal grants in April and May earmarked for child care providers hit by the economic effects of COVID-19.

The department received roughly $31 million to go toward child care from the CARES Act, a $2.1 trillion package approved by Congress in March to help keep providers afloat.

The bulk of that — $3 million — paid a monthly stipend for qualified child care programs for April and May.

In April, 367 licensed centers received a $2,000 a month stipend and 171 licensed child care development homes received a $500 stipend. A total of 1,865 programs received $1.58 million in May.

A memo from the Department of Human Services stated it expects the state to spend $13.7 million of its remaining federal dollars through the month of July on the monthly stipends.

That $31 million must be given out by September 2022 and spent by September 2023.

As part of the Department of Human Services’s program, providers also could receive an add-on to the monthly stipend for those offering essential employees a 25 percent discount. Those add-ons would be $2,000 for licensed centers and $500 for registered homes.

In April and May, $1.65 million was given to care providers as part of the add-ons.

A separate “rejuvenation grant” also is available to reopen temporarily closed care facilities — offering $1,500 for licensed centers and $600 for registered homes.

A little less than $350,000 was distributed as part of that program.

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According to a Department of Human Services database, there are 3,244 registered child care providers in the state, which asks for regular updates from child care providers on availability.

Some licensed care providers have had to close temporarily, according to the department. As of April 21, 829 licensed providers and 171 licensed child care development homes had reported temporary closure.

Applying for the grants

How to Apply

• Care providers need to apply for the monthly stipend by the end of each month through stipend survey from the Iowa Department of Human Services.

• Providers approved for the monthly stipend should expect the funds to arrive by June 22 for the April and May stipend, July 22 for the June stipend, and Aug. 24 for the July stipend.

Who to Contact

• Julie Allison, wecanhelp@dhs.state.ia.us, Jalliso1@dhs.state.ia.us, (515) 281-6177

Comments: (319) 398-8370; sarah.watson@thegazette.com

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