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The House has been aggressive in addressing child care access this session. We know there is not one single solution to this complex issue. That’s why the House passed ten bills to address the crisis through a multipronged approach. Together, these bills increase the child care workforce, increase provider rates to maintain existing child care facilities, provide incentives to develop new child care facilities, and help hard-working families afford the high cost of child care. While some of the bills passed in the House will not survive the second funnel deadline, many of these bills are still alive in the Senate and are awaiting further action.

Now, these bills are more important than ever, as child care is a key factor in getting Iowans back to work throughout this public health emergency. The Senate has considered the following bills:

  • House File 302 establishes a state-funded off-ramp program from Child Care Assistance (CCA) that will gradually increase cost-sharing from families as they increase their income. This bill removes the ceiling on Iowan’s ability to be successful. You often hear about the cliff effect in government programs – where individuals are stuck in welfare dependency and the program is limiting their ability to take a raise or promotion. This bill addresses the cliff effect in Child Care Assistance and the Senate is planning to move it out of the Human Resources Committee.
  • House File 260 will allow nonregistered child care homes to increase by one school-aged child. This bill is important for rural Iowa parents who do not have access to a child care center in their area. This bill has passed both the House and Senate chambers, and now awaits the Governor’s signature.
  • House File 301 establishes a public/private partnership to expand the child care workforce in the state. This bill will help recruit and retain child care providers in Iowa by providing matching funds to communities that match the state funds. This bill is now up for consideration by the full Senate.

Five bills from the House on child care still await any consideration by the Senate. Together, this child care legislative package will take significant steps to address child care access and affordability throughout the state. The Governor has indicated that she shares the House’s priority in increasing access to affordable, quality child care. It’s vital for our state’s success that these bills pass the Senate so they can be signed by the Governor and become law.

Author: Gary Mohr