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State Featured Priority Blog Series: Child Care

Child Care Featured Priority

February 18, 2022

The Greater Des Moines Partnership is producing a blog series that focuses on The Partnership’s 2022 featured state priorities: Des Moines International Airport, Talent, Pro-Growth Tax Policies, Community Placemaking, Child Care, Housing and Broadband.

The Partnership supports the recommendations of the Iowa Skills2Compete Coalition and the Governor’s Child Care Task Force to increase affordable access to quality child care and promote stabilization in the child care workforce.

In March of 2021 Gov. Kim Reynolds established the Governor’s Child Care Task Force that consisted of private and public child care leaders to provide recommendations to address the child care shortage in Iowa. As president and CEO of the Iowa Woman’s Foundation I was honored to serve on the task force.

Affordable and available quality child care is important in recruiting and retaining talent throughout our state. According to a report released by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, child care issues impact Iowa’s businesses and the state economy.

  • $935 million loss annually for Iowa’s economy
  • $153 million loss annually in tax revenue
  • Absences and employee turnover cost Iowa Employers an estimated $781 million per year

These are staggering numbers. We are losing almost a billion dollars a year to our state’s economy because child care issues are impacting working parents.

  • 65% of parents are late to work or leave early because of child care issues
  • Working parents miss an average of 4.3 days of work every six months
  • Working parents are late to work or leave early on average another 7.5 times in that same six-month period
  • 63% of parents say child care costs influence their careers
  • 85% wish their employer offered child care benefits

Child Care Task Force Recommendations

The Child Care Task Force Recommendations were released in November of 2021. The Iowa Women’s Foundation prioritizes the following task force recommendations that impact the accessibility, affordability and quality of child care in Iowa:

  • Identify a sustainable funding source for Child Care WAGE$® IOWA and T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® IOWA statewide beyond SFY24.
  • Implement tax cuts and credits to incentivize participation in the child care workforce.
  • Implement tax cuts and credits to strengthen child care business — facilities as a residential income tax, exempt child care from sales tax and expand teacher supply tax credit to child care workers.
  • Increase the Child Care Assistance entrance income limits to 185% incrementally at 5% annually.
  • Implement tax cuts and credits to incentivize businesses to increase investments in child care.

At the Iowa Woman’s Foundation, we understand that this is just the beginning of a long journey to provide quality affordable and available child care for all Iowans. We look forward to working with elected officials and business leaders on this important issue.

The Partnership's Public Policy team engages with local, state and federal officials to create public policy that generates economic growth, business prosperity and talent development in Greater Des Moines (DSM). The Partnership is a nonpartisan organization.

Dawn Oliver Wiand

Dawn Oliver Wiand is the president and CEO for the Iowa Women's Foundation.