Advocates Disappointed with Legislative ‘Solutions’ to Iowa Child Care Crisis

Washington, D.C. (May 3, 2022) – Save the Children Action Network is incredibly disappointed by Iowa lawmakers’ decision to pass HF2198 and HF 2127. HF2198 will allow 16- and 17-year-olds to care for school-aged children – unsupervised – in child care facilities and increase child-to-staff ratios, allowing one child care worker for every seven children under 2 years old and one child care worker for every 10 children under 3 years old. HF 2127 will allow child care providers to voluntarily charge low-income families receiving government child care assistance even more.

“The child care policies coming out of this year’s legislative session are deeply distressing and particularly surprising after good solutions proposed by the Governor’s Child Care Taskforce last year. One – a so-called ‘solution’ to Iowa’s worsening child care crisis – puts children’s wellbeing at risk,” said E.J. Wallace, Save the Children Action Network Iowa State Manager. “Not only does HF2198 cut corners when it comes to child safety and early education quality, it also adds to the already-heavy burden of child care providers. How can giving providers the option to take on more children, when they’re already stretched so thin, be an acceptable solution?”

“The other bill – HF 2127 – comes at the expense of low-income families, placing an additional burden on them at an already-difficult time, with the pandemic and its secondary impacts still taking their toll,” continued Wallace. “Both of these bills wrongly put the interests of children, families and providers on the backburner.”

Over the course of the legislative session, Save the Children Action Network’s state-wide base of grassroots advocates have worked closely with partner organizations to advocate against HF2198 and HF2127. Advocates have written letters to the editor, spoken with media, and made over 800 calls and sent over 400 emails to policymakers to shed light on the bills’ negative implications for kids, parents and the child care workforce.

“Our advocacy doesn’t end here. We need Governor Reynolds and our policymakers, regardless of political party, to fully address these issues taking into account the recommendations of policy experts, parents and providers – those these decisions affect day in and day out,” continued Wallace. “We remain firmly committed to working with policymakers to find more acceptable solutions that prioritize children, the early education workforce and families of all socio-economic backgrounds. Iowa’s children – our future – deserve better.”

Save the Children Action Network will continue to mobilize in support of Iowa’s children, families and early education workforce.