Governor Kim Reynolds and Lt. Governor Gregg.

Governor Kim Reynolds is directing more federal money toward child care workers and facilities in Iowa.

The governor is extending and expanding a federal pandemic relief program that has provided monthly bonuses to low-paid child care and preschool workers. The payments had been available to workers in 20 counties and were set to end. Reynolds is using $7 million in federal money to make the program statewide, through June 30, 2022.

The governor has ordered reimbursement rates to increase for low-income parents who’re getting government assistance to pay for child care. She’s also using federal money so Iowa child care centers affected by the pandemic will continue to get bonuses through the end of August.

“I want to reinforce how critical access to affordable, quality child care is to sustaining our economic recovery from Covid-19,” Reynolds said, “and supporting working parents and overcoming Iowa’s workforce shortage is always top of mind.”

Reynolds is directing more pandemic relief funds to provide college scholarships to more Iowa child care workers.

“Right now, we’re currently in just a few counties and we’re hoping to take that statewide and the scholarships support child care workers pursuit of higher education and it’s been shown to reduce turnover, so we know it works,” Reynolds said. “It’s just been hard to expand it, so this will allow us to do that with some of the federal funding.”

Reynolds appointed a task force in March to come up with ideas for addressing child care needs in Iowa. She says the group will conclude its work “later this month.”