Nov 15, 2022 - News

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds says no to federal child care aid

Photo illustration of Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds with lines radiating from her.

Photo illustration: Allie Carl/Axios. Photo: Bloomberg via Getty Images

Gov. Kim Reynolds’ office and leaders in the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services declined to sign off on a federal grant application that could have brought Iowa $30 million in funding for child care services.

  • The governor's office did not want to commit $3 million in matching state funds towards child care, the Dispatch reports.

Why it matters: One of the state's biggest concerns is access to child care, which was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and disproportionately hurts women in the workplace.

  • A 2021 state report showed one in four Iowans live in a child care desert. That figure jumped to one in three for rural areas.

State of play: In September, the federal government made $266 million in preschool development grants available to states to help fund existing early-childhood programs, the Iowa Capital Dispatch reports.

  • Iowa was one of only 25 states deemed eligible for the funding
  • Early Childhood Iowa, a program within the Iowa Department of Management, spent two months working on the grant.

The other side: Anne Discher of Common Good Iowa, a policy-making nonprofit, said she believes it's reflective of the governor's resistance to taking funding from the Biden administration.

The big picture: It's the latest potential money the state has rejected, including millions in rental assistance.

  • Reynolds announced on Fox News last year that she had returned $95 million from the federal government intended to help schools during the pandemic.
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