Iowa has always been known as a great place to raise a family, but as child care becomes increasingly costly and scarce, we’re pushing working parents to the brink and putting our family-friendly status in danger.
Now is the time for action.
Since 2018, the Iowa Women’s Foundation has been collaborating with communities across the state to increase the availability of quality, affordable child care. We’ve identified and are already implementing solutions like expanding and building new child care centers, supporting child care entrepreneurs, and working with businesses to make their workplace cultures more compatible with the needs of parents.
In 2020, we resolve to see every business in our region resolve to increase their child-care benefits to employees — and keep doing so as the demands change over time. This could be as simple as allowing employees more flexible schedules, or as ambitious as adding on-site child care.
Working parents aren’t the only ones who stand to gain — businesses will see positive benefits in the form of lower turnover, better morale and improved employee performance. Children will have better educational opportunities. And Iowa communities will thrive and be better prepared for what lies ahead in the next 10 years.
Dawn Oliver Wiand is executive director of the Iowa Women’s Foundation