Preschool and Childcare

Preschool

Iowa offers numerous preschools around the state. Preschool is for children who are younger than five years old and cannot enter kindergarten yet. You may find a list of preschools and which city they are located in here: http://www.savvysource.com/preschools/s_preschools_in_iowa_ia

Childcare

Nothing is quite as important as making sure your children are safe and happy. For information on Child Care providers, begin with Iowa Child Care Resource and Referral (CCRR). You can access the website at http://www.iowaccrr.org/ or call 1.877.216.8481

For a list of child care providers registered in the state of Iowa who speak multiple languages, please click here, or visit the link at the bottom of the page.

On the website you will find listings for Child Care Resource and Referral (CCRR) sites, the list of counties each serves, their addresses, websites and all contact information. You can also download a list of child care providers, their name, address and telephone number. You may want to take advantage of the parent referral counselor in each CCRR office to help you in deciding which child care providers best fit your needs (cost, location, special needs of child, etc.)

As you begin the screening process to select a child care provider, or if you already have a provider in mind, you will want to check references. There are many questions you will want to be asking, including some of the following ones:

  • Does the provider have an Open Door policy? Can I drop in any time to visit? If you have to call in advance in order to visit, it’s a red flag.
  • What background or training in child care do they have? Degrees in early childhood or specialized training in child development have been shown to improve the quality of care. Experience alone does not improve quality. High quality has been shown to improve child outcomes.
  • Why is providing child care something they have chosen to do? Is it because they are also taking care of their own children or grandchildren? Because they enjoy being with children? Have they chosen this work as their profession?
  • What meals and snacks are provided? Are mealtimes scheduled or flexible based upon the child’s needs? What health practices and nutrition guidelines are in place?
  • What guidance techniques do they use to avoid behavior problems? (In-tune with each child’s needs, redirection, ample interesting materials, schedule and setting are child oriented, children are given choices, etc.) How do they work with children and families when it is necessary to discipline children?
  • What curriculum and assessment materials are they using with 0-5? How do they plan and individualize each child’s learning opportunities? How often do they talk and read to young children? How do they work with parents to establish goals?
  • How often is the TV on during the day? (American Pediatrics Association has recommended that children under two do not watch any television, and children under five should have very
    limited viewing.)
  • How would they handle a medical emergency?
  • Do they pick up children from school? Or how far does the provider live from the school? This would be important if your job is 8:00 to 5:00.

It is recommended that you plan to screen at least six programs and make appointments to visit at least three. The first visit should allow you to have a meaningful conversation with the provider. A second visit to observe the provider in action is a good idea. Go at a time when the schedule is busy to get a true picture of how things are handled.

Child care is expensive, especially full-time care for children under five years of age. No one would argue child care shouldn’t be expensive, but how do you manage it?

You may get help from Child Care Assistance if you:

  • Have a child who needs care who is under the age of 13 (or under the age of 19 if the child has special needs) and
  • You are a member of the Family Investment Program participant household.

If you are not a Family Investment Program (FIP) participant, you may qualify for child Care Assistance if you:

  • Have a child who needs care who is under the age of 13 years (or under the age of 19 years if the child has special needs) and
  • Have income under the program’s limits; and
  • Work an average of 28 hours per week or
  • Attend an approval training or education program full-time; or
  • Are looking for work
  • Have an approved medical reason.

How to Apply?

You will go to your local Department of Human Services offices to fill out an application. Go to http://dhs.iowa.gov/childcare for more specifics. Give yourself at least 30 days to receive approval. You will be asked such things as: How many hours a week you work? Your hourly wage? Your pay stubs for the last month or a letter from your employer stating your wage and hours. Or if you are a full-time student? Or graduate student? If you are receiving FIP? If your children are receiving Medicaid? The name of your Income Maintenance worker?

This gets your case assigned to a worker who starts the process of making decisions about whether you meet the rules for the program, which providers are approved by DHS and how the payment from Child Care Assistance works. A good tip is to call back a week after you have completed the application to find out the name of your worker.

Preschool and Childcare

Preschool

Iowa offers numerous preschools around the state. Preschool is for children who are younger than five years old and cannot enter kindergarten yet. You may find a list of preschools and which city they are located in here: http://www.savvysource.com/preschools/s_preschools_in_iowa_ia

Childcare

Nothing is quite as important as making sure your children are safe and happy. For information on Child Care providers, begin with Iowa Child Care Resource and Referral (CCRR). You can access the website at http://www.iowaccrr.org/ or call 1.877.216.8481

For a list of child care providers registered in the state of Iowa who speak multiple languages, please click here, or visit the link at the bottom of the page.

On the website you will find listings for Child Care Resource and Referral (CCRR) sites, the list of counties each serves, their addresses, websites and all contact information. You can also download a list of child care providers, their name, address and telephone number. You may want to take advantage of the parent referral counselor in each CCRR office to help you in deciding which child care providers best fit your needs (cost, location, special needs of child, etc.)

As you begin the screening process to select a child care provider, or if you already have a provider in mind, you will want to check references. There are many questions you will want to be asking, including some of the following ones:

  • Does the provider have an Open Door policy? Can I drop in any time to visit? If you have to call in advance in order to visit, it’s a red flag.
  • What background or training in child care do they have? Degrees in early childhood or specialized training in child development have been shown to improve the quality of care. Experience alone does not improve quality. High quality has been shown to improve child outcomes.
  • Why is providing child care something they have chosen to do? Is it because they are also taking care of their own children or grandchildren? Because they enjoy being with children? Have they chosen this work as their profession?
  • What meals and snacks are provided? Are mealtimes scheduled or flexible based upon the child’s needs? What health practices and nutrition guidelines are in place?
  • What guidance techniques do they use to avoid behavior problems? (In-tune with each child’s needs, redirection, ample interesting materials, schedule and setting are child oriented, children are given choices, etc.) How do they work with children and families when it is necessary to discipline children?
  • What curriculum and assessment materials are they using with 0-5? How do they plan and individualize each child’s learning opportunities? How often do they talk and read to young children? How do they work with parents to establish goals?
  • How often is the TV on during the day? (American Pediatrics Association has recommended that children under two do not watch any television, and children under five should have very
    limited viewing.)
  • How would they handle a medical emergency?
  • Do they pick up children from school? Or how far does the provider live from the school? This would be important if your job is 8:00 to 5:00.

It is recommended that you plan to screen at least six programs and make appointments to visit at least three. The first visit should allow you to have a meaningful conversation with the provider. A second visit to observe the provider in action is a good idea. Go at a time when the schedule is busy to get a true picture of how things are handled.

Child care is expensive, especially full-time care for children under five years of age. No one would argue child care shouldn’t be expensive, but how do you manage it?

You may get help from Child Care Assistance if you:

  • Have a child who needs care who is under the age of 13 (or under the age of 19 if the child has special needs) and
  • You are a member of the Family Investment Program participant household.

If you are not a Family Investment Program (FIP) participant, you may qualify for child Care Assistance if you:

  • Have a child who needs care who is under the age of 13 years (or under the age of 19 years if the child has special needs) and
  • Have income under the program’s limits; and
  • Work an average of 28 hours per week or
  • Attend an approval training or education program full-time; or
  • Are looking for work
  • Have an approved medical reason.

How to Apply?

You will go to your local Department of Human Services offices to fill out an application. Go to http://dhs.iowa.gov/childcare for more specifics. Give yourself at least 30 days to receive approval. You will be asked such things as: How many hours a week you work? Your hourly wage? Your pay stubs for the last month or a letter from your employer stating your wage and hours. Or if you are a full-time student? Or graduate student? If you are receiving FIP? If your children are receiving Medicaid? The name of your Income Maintenance worker?

This gets your case assigned to a worker who starts the process of making decisions about whether you meet the rules for the program, which providers are approved by DHS and how the payment from Child Care Assistance works. A good tip is to call back a week after you have completed the application to find out the name of your worker.