Policy Strategies & Innovations Link copied!
|Innovation Name||Innovation Type||Innovation Subtype||Features at a Glance||Strategy Summary|
|Child Care Business Incentive Grant Program||Expansion||Physical Space and Facilities||
In 2021, through Executive Order 8, Governor Kim Reynolds created the Child Care Task Force in response to the state's child care shortage; the Child Care Business Incentive Grant Program was created as part of the task force’s work. The grant program helps employers offer or expand on-site child care. In September 2022, $26.6 million was awarded for 23 projects and 1,786 new child care slots; in January 2023, another $443,234 was awarded for 5 projects and 77 new child care slots. Federal American Rescue Plan Act funds are being used for this grant program.Learn More: Iowa's Child Care Grants
State of Iowa. (n.d.). Child Care Grants.
|I2D2 - Iowa's Integrated Data System for Decision Making||Infrastructure Systems||Data Systems||
Early Childhood Integrated Data System
Since 2018, Iowa State University of Science and Technology has hosted I2D2 (Iowa's Integrated Data System for Decision Making), the state's early childhood integrated data system,in partnership with multiple state agencies (e.g., Department of Public Health, Department of Human Services, Department of Education, Department of Human Rights, Department of Workforce Development, Department of Economic Development, Department of Management, and Head Start Grantees). The system functions as a multifaceted data transfer platform, data management platform, and data analytics platform. It links program and deidentified individual data related to children and families, including vital records (birth and death records); DAISEY home visiting records; Child Care Assistance records; public education PK-12 enrollment, attendance, achievement, and special education records; and Head Start enrollment. Approved users can access the data for specific projects under a memorandum of agreement. I2D2 also offers a data visualization dashboard, IA Data Drive” for public use.
I2D2 was authorized under Iowa Code Chapter 256i, which instituted the Iowa Early Childhood Initiative. It is funded through individual grants and contracts that support specific projects. The system has received grants from Iowa State University, Actionable Intelligence for Social Policy, and other funders. State funding and funding from the Preschool Development Grant (2019) have also supported the effort.Learn more/SOurce: Iowa's Integrated Data System for Decision Making (I2D2)
|Iowa Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program (SWVPP)||Expansion||Universal Pre-K Policy (4-Year-Olds) More Than 60% of Children Served (4-Year-Olds)||
Percentage of 4-year-olds enrolled (as of 2022): 64%
In 2007, Iowa launched a Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program (SWVPP) that offers universal access to at least 10 hours of care per week for all 4-year-olds. The funding comes from the K-12 state funding formula, which stipulates that programs serving 4-year-olds receive 50% of the K-12 state aid amounts. SWVPP serves children in a combination of public and private schools and community-based child care settings. It is offered in collaboration with a targeted program called Shared Visions, which provides quality care for children experiencing various risk factors. In November, 2022, the state learned it would lose out on $30 million in federal Preschool Development Grant funding, which may have an impact on future expansion efforts.learn more: Iowa Voluntary Preschool Program for Four-Year-Old Children
|Child Care WAGE$ Iowa||Workforce||Bonuses and Supplemental Pay||
$525 to $9,200 per educator per year, with an average supplement of $2,462
Child Care WAGE$ Iowa provides supplemental pay to early childhood educators based on their education level, quality rating level, and commitment to their early education program. WAGE$ is designed to retain and support the professional development of early education professionals; in turn, this creates a more stable workforce with the skills needed to support young children's healthy learning and development. Bonuses range from $525 to $9,200 per educator per year, with an average annual payment of $2,462. Amounts increase as educators obtain more formal education, and educators must remain in their early education program for at least six months to qualify for an award. In FY22, Child Care WAGE$ Iowa provided supplements to 1,341 educators in 585 programs. Turnover among recipients was only 8%, much lower than the estimated 26-40% turnover rate among educators in licensed child care programs nationwide.
This program is part of the national Child Care WAGE$ project. After initially launching in select counties, it is now available statewide.Learn More: Iowa WAGE$
Iowa AEYC. (n.d.). Iowa WAGE$.
Iowa AEYC. (2022). T.E.A.C.H. and W.A.G.E.$ Annual Report.
Iowa AEYC. (2022). Child Care WAGE$ Iowa FY22 Results.
Demographics Link copied!
3,200,517 Source U.S. Census, 2022
36.8% Source U.S. Census, 2020
63.2% Source U.S. Census, 2020
Number of children age 0-4
189,056 Source KIDS COUNT, 2021
Poverty levels – children 0-8 below 200% poverty
34% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021
Median family income among households with children
$85,700.00 Source KIDS COUNT, 2021
3.1% Source U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, December 2022
Unemployment rate of parents
3% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021
Children under age 6 with all available parents in the labor force
74% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021
Children living in households with a high housing cost burden
20% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021
Child population by race and ethnicity Source KIDS COUNT, 2021
Race and Ethnicity
- American Indian and Alaska Native (0.49%)
- Asian (3%)
- Black or African American (6%)
- Hispanic or Latino (11%)
- Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander (0.49%)
- Two or More Races (4%)
- White, not Hispanic or Latino (76%)
Political Landscape Link copied!
Early Childhood Education Programs Link copied!
Public pre-K program name
Shared Visions Source: NIEER 2023
Public pre-K program name
Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program (SWVPP) Source: NIEER 2023
Universal or targeted pre-K policy
Targeted Pre-K Policy (3- and 4-Year-Olds) Source: NIEER 2023
Universal or targeted pre-K policy
Universal Pre-K Policy (4-Year-Olds) Source: NIEER 2023
Percent of 3-Year-Old Children Enrolled in Public Early Childhood Education Programs Source: NIEER 2023
- 3-year-old children enrolled in state-funded public pre-K (4%)
- 3-year-old children enrolled in Head Start (6%)
- Other/none (90%)
Percent of 4-Year-Old Children Enrolled in Public Early Childhood Education Programs Source: NIEER 2023
- 4-year-old children enrolled in state-funded public pre-K (64%)
- 4-year-old children enrolled in Head Start (4%)
- Other/none (32%)
Workforce Link copied!
2017–2019 Median Hourly Wages Source CSCCE 2018, 2020
- Child care workers
- Preschool teachers
- Preschool or child care center directors
Funding Sources Link copied!
Federal and State Early Childhood Education Funding (in millions) Source First Five Years Fund, 2022
- Head Start and Early Head Start Funding ($79.2)
- CCDBG & Mandatory Funds ($78.3)
- CCDBG State Match ($7.8)
- CCDBG COVID Relief Allocations – CARES, CRRSE, ARPA (CCDF & Stabilization) ($496.3)
- State-Funded Pre-K ($91.8)
- MIECHV ($5.8)
- IDEA Part C ($6.5)
- IDEA Part B, Sec 619 ($6.2)
- TANF Early Learning and Care Expenditures ($52.6)
The COVID Funding Cliff
All federal COVID relief allocations, including funding authorized by the CARES, CRRSE, and ARPA bills, must be fully spent by September 2024. An analysis from the Century Foundation shows this loss of funds could cause more than 3 million children to lose access to child care nationwide – including more than 13,000 children in Iowa.