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July 15, 2022

FCF Helps IA Registered Home Child Care Providers Access Federal Funding

As part of the American Rescue Plan Act, the Iowa Department of Human Services received $200 million to provide Child Care Stabilization Grants for qualified licensed centers and registered home providers to help sustain their businesses. Iowa/Jefferson/Keokuk Early Childhood Iowa (IJK ECI) Board of Directors was concerned many registered home child care providers in the area may not qualify or they would not attempt to apply. The IJK ECI Board also wanted to show their appreciation to providers by providing education opportunities and assistance to help ease some of the financial burdens brought on by the pandemic.

In November 2021, Tammy Wetjen-Kesterson, the IJK ECI Director, and Heidi Schlueter, First Children’s Finance Iowa Regional Director, joined forces to help registered home child care providers be more prepared, encouraged, and equipped to pursue business sustainability, including participating in the stabilization funding opportunities.

The new Child Care Stabilization and Sustainability Training & Technical Assistance (TA) project consisted of two training opportunities for providers: Getting Ready for More Money and Making the Most of More Money offered in spring 2022. FCF staff provided technical assistance and updates about the stabilization grant opportunity, business resources and tips to participants. FCF staff also provided free one-on-one technical assistance in response to questions regarding the application process, developing business sustainability plans, making improvements to business practices, and responding to other opportunities which may become available.

With assistance from FCF Iowa team, the IJK ECI Board established a local stabilization grant for those who did not qualify for the Iowa Grant. Of the 24 registered child care home providers in the area, 14 participated in this project by attending at least one of the trainings or receiving assistance from FCF.

FCF assisted child care entrepreneurs by answering questions, providing technical assistance to complete applications for both grant opportunities, and providing consulting throughout the process. Participants in each training received planning and record keeping tools to use in building their child care businesses.

Rebecca, a registered home provider in Iowa county, needed funding to replace her heating and cooling units in her home. FCF staff helped her with the stabilization grant application process and discussed how to document using the funds to purchase a new furnace and air conditioner. “The FCF staff was absolutely amazing helping me with my stabilization grant. After I received my check, I asked about using it for a home update and I was given the helpful information I needed to proceed.”

For additional information about this initiative, contact Heidi Schlueter.