Area daycare projects and programs have received a needed shot in the arm from Governor Reynolds. She awarded nearly $37 million in Child Care grants to projects that will create nearly 5,200 new childcare slots across Iowa. The money will fund 108 innovative projects in 72 Iowa communities. It will be matched by another $9.7 million in private investment that has been generated through community-based partnerships to alleviate a local childcare need. The sources of the grant money come from several sources. These include DHS Grant Awards, Childcare Challenge Grant Awards (CCC), and Investment by Iowans through the Childcare Challenge (IICC).
Redeemer Lutheran Church in Ventura will receive from the IICC $165,564. The funding will provide new, repurposed infant and toddler rooms as well as health and safety upgrades for 22 children
Simmering-Cory Inc. in Belmond will receive from IICC for $126,945 and $250,000 from CCC for a total award of $376,945. This project will fund the renovation of the Ramsay Building, formerly an elementary school, to house a new daycare center, Colts Corner Daycare, in the City of Belmond. The need for childcare is critical in Belmond, with an estimated shortage of 423 childcare spaces within the Belmond-Klemme Community School District, and only enough licensed childcare slots to serve 19% of the children ages 0-11 in Belmond. In addition, several daycares have closed in the last year making the shortage even greater. The construction contract has been awarded and construction will begin in January 2022 with Colts Corner opening its doors in August 2022, creating 155 childcare slots and 24 to 32 new full and part-time jobs in the community.
Childtime Clubhouse in Northwood will receive $190,495 from IICC and $250,000 from CCC for a total award of $440,495. Childtime Clubhouse will open a new center with the goal being to provide a safe and welcoming environment to support and care for children of all ages. The most important outcome they will achieve by opening this facility is closing the large gap in access to childcare that Worth County is currently facing. They will also be able to support community members by generating new jobs.
Kids Korner, Inc. doing business as First Steps Early Learning Center in Clarion will receive $327,150 from IICC. In January 2022, Kids Korner will become First Steps Early Learning Center. The new program will include a more focused curriculum and new community partnerships, offering affordable, safe, high-quality care for working families in and around Clarion. In partnership with the City of Clarion and Wright County, in June 2022 the center will move to a new building that increasing the program’s available childcare slots from 89 to 108. The city and county will pay renovation costs. Unique partnerships will provide financial and staffing support to ensure First Steps Early Learning Center succeeds in its goal to serve more working families in Wright County and build their children’s foundational skills and development, setting them up for future success and increasing productivity for working parents. The funding will go for supplies, technology, a security system, classroom furnishings, and a new playground to complete the transformation.
Regionally, Little Mustangs Learning Center in Armstrong is adding 19 new openings for childcare. The center will receive $43,047 from IICC. Funds will aid towards the completion of remodeling the new location to be Little Mustangs Learning Center. The new location is one block away from the public school, the library, city park and pool.
Little Sprouts Daycare, LLC in Algona will receive $126,350 from CCC. Since being awarded Challenge and IICC grant funding at the beginning of this year, they have completed upper-level renovations, installed a sprinkler and alarm system throughout the building, created an outdoor classroom, and opened to care for children. Currently approved to care for up to 43 children, plans for the lower level will include at least two more classrooms and some sick care rooms, this would be only the second sick care center in the region and increase capacity to serve 32 more childcare slots.