Extension News

ISU Extension Specialist Receives Honor for Contributions to Iowa Child Care

Lesia Oesterreich


PITTSBURGH—Lesia Oesterreich, Iowa State University (ISU) Extension family life specialist, was awarded the Career Achievement Award for her contributions to improving child care in Iowa. She received the award at the annual National Council on Family Relations meeting Nov. 6 for her contributions to strengthening child care in Iowa.


During her career Oesterreich has developed educational programs to assist child care professionals to improve the care they provide and has guided public policy to improve child care.  


Oesterreich also has produced numerous publications on topics of concern for both child care providers and parents, including the Heartland Family Child Care Handbook.


Robert Hughes, professor of family studies at the University of Illinois, says, “Oesterreich has developed training programs that have significantly improved the quality of care available to children in Iowa.”


Among Oesterreich’s work is a self-study curriculum for child care providers called, “Child Care that Works.” Child care providers who participate in this program receive Iowa Department of Human Services credits toward licensing requirements for their completion of the program. More than 94 percent of providers report that they have adopted recommended practices that are taught with this self-study course.


To provide effective training for new child care staff, Oesterreich and her Extension colleagues offer a New Staff Orientation program. More than 500 center directors have been trained to facilitate this program with their own child care staff. Directors have reported that their staff learn important ideas and techniques for providing high quality care.


Oesterreich and her ISU Extension colleagues also have conducted more than 400 assessments of child care center programs including those providing care for children with disabilities. Data results then were used to provide more than 5,000 hours of intensive training to providers to strengthen the quality of care for children. 


The Family Life Career Achievement Award is given annually to a family life educator who has made a significant contribution to the engagement of the public in the areas of child development and family life.



Contacts :

Lesia Oesterreich , Human Development & Family Studies, (515) 294-0363, loesterr@iastate.edu

Laura Sternweis , Extension Communications and External Relations, (515) 294-0775, lsternwe@iastate.edu

Cayla Westergard, Extension Communications and External Relations, (515) 294-9915, cayla@iastate.edu