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Ernst Visits Local Child Care Center, Discusses Work to Address the Child Care Crisis in Iowa

The Iowa Senator has two bipartisan bills she’s pushing that help improve access to care and provide resources to child care centers across the state

KEOSAUQUA, Iowa—U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) visited the Van Buren County Hospital Child Care Center yesterday to meet with local stakeholders about the child care challenges facing Iowans and to discuss her work to address the issue at the federal level.

Click HERE or on the image above for video footage of Senator Ernst discussing her visit to the child care center as well as her efforts to address the child care issues in Iowa.

Ernst was joined in Keosauqua by local stakeholders, including representatives from the Southern Iowa Economic Development Association, Early Childhood Iowa, Community Action of Eastern Iowa, and the Iowa Women's Foundation. Topics included the Small Business Child Care Investment Act, which is supported by a number of Iowa stakeholders.

“We know that Iowa has a child care crisis, so now we have to find solutions to address it. This discussion was a great opportunity to hear firsthand from folks in the community about some of their concerns and ideas for addressing the issue,” said Senator Joni Ernst. “On the federal level, I’m working across the aisle to help ensure Iowa moms and dads have access to quality and affordable care for their children.”



In the past five years, Iowa has lost more than 40% of its regulated child care providers—leaving a quarter of Iowans living in areas with child care shortages, called ‘child care deserts.’ Earlier this fall Ernst introduced a bipartisan bill, with Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), to help improve access to child care by making non-profit child care providers eligible for all SBA capital access programs so long as they are licensed by the state and their employees have had criminal background checks. Senator Ernst outlined her bill in an op-ed in the Telegraph Herald.

In addition, Ernst is also a cosponsor of another bipartisan bill with Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Dan Sullivan (R-AK) that would provide states with grants to increase access to licensed child care services in locations with shortages of care.  This bill seeks to increase access to licensed child care services in ‘child care deserts’ and to support the education and training of caregivers.