The effects of child care last a lifetime. That’s why more than 300 Iowans in 12 community conversations in fall 2005 discussed how to improve the quality of child care in their communities. They covered a range of possibilities, from increasing government regulation to educating parents and improving training for child care providers. Two years later, ISU Extension, a sponsor of the conversations, surveyed those Iowans to find out which actions they pursued.
“Iowans in several communities have indicated that the conversations helped create awareness of the need for quality child care and helped increase community interest in taking action,” said Jeanne Warning, assistant director for ISU Extension to Families.
Survey respondents reported a number of actions taken since the conversations, Warning said. For example, four school districts in one county have been participating in the statewide voluntary preschool program for 4-year-olds. Another school district established a tuition-based preschool.
“Several communities indicated that they are seeing more and more child care centers participating in quality assessments and becoming accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Home child care providers have been participating in home provider accreditation as well,” Warning said.
In many cases, families have been asking for quality child care, Warning said. “Some communities feel that the legislative climate is right, and see advocacy and funding as important factors.”
Warning said ISU Extension works year round with Child Care Resource and Referral and other partners to offer child care provider education to improve child care quality in Iowa.
A copy of the community conversation findings (PM 2018) is available from ISU Extension Distribution Center. For more information, contact Warning at firstname.lastname@example.org.