DHS Announces $30 Million Recruitment and Retention Bonus Program for Iowa Child Care Workforce

January 13, 2022

(Des Moines, Iowa) Today the Iowa Department of Human Services announced a $30 million recruitment and retention bonus program to help Iowa’s child care providers attract and retain workers. To date the state has invested $480 million dollars to support child care since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Governor’s Child Care Task Force report recommended the establishment of a recruitment and retention bonus program in their report released in November. Governor Kim Reynolds convened the task force to improve the child care system in Iowa. In recent years, parents have struggled to find to quality, safe, and affordable child care. The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated these challenges. Additionally, nearly every economic sector in the state has struggled to find qualified employees.

“Child care providers are a critical piece of the workforce shortage solution, providing the care and resources so many families rely on daily,” said Gov. Reynolds. “Because of their work, parents are able to return to or remain in the workforce. Their hard work and dedication deserves recognition and appreciation.”

“Child care is the backbone of our economy,” said Garcia. “This recruitment and retention program will help bolster Iowa’s child care workforce and help support the families that rely on it. This is a significant investment in our state and in our future.”

“Professionalizing the state’s child care workforce starts with investing in providers,” said task force chair Emily Schmitt of Mason City. “That’s going to encourage those employees to see there’s a viable future in the profession. Every business is struggling with labor. Supporting child care will not only enable those Iowans but ultimately help the workforce.”

Current child development home operators, licensed child care center staff, and newly hired employees are eligible for the bonus. Each new hire or newly registered child development home meeting eligibility requirements will be eligible for a sign-on bonus 90 days after the date of hire. Six months from the date of sign-on bonus and every six months thereafter, any person meeting eligibility requirements that remains employed at the same child care facility will be eligible for a retention bonus until the funding runs out.

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Additional details on eligibility and the application process will be published in February on the Department’s website at https://dhs.iowa.gov/childcare/funding-opportunities as well as communicated directly to providers through our partnership with Child Care Resource and Referral - https://iowaccrr.org/ .

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Media Contact:

Alex Carfrae

acarfra@dhs.state.ia.us

or 515-281-4848

Publish Date: 
Thursday, January 13, 2022