November 2021 Volume 32; Issue 2

You can view the complete newsletter here.

 

From the Executive Director's Desk

November is the 2nd month of the agency fiscal year. With most of our funds beginning as federal dollars, it is Congress that sets our budgets for a majority of the agency programs. We are operating on a continuing resolution until the first week in December. I’m not sure Congress will finalize a budget in the next few weeks but I am hopeful. As I am writing this, the Infrastructure Bill has been passed by both the House and Senate and is on the way to the President for his signature. After months of negotiation, agreement was reached. The details of the bill are yet to be released but it is very significant.

Mandatory vaccines for a large number of employers and federal contractors/agencies has been ordered by the President. The courts have halted part of that implementation which means the process will be slowed down a bit or portions of the mandate may be taken out. It is going to take a few weeks to work through the process. For Mid-Sioux, some level of vaccine participation is likely. We are working through those details. Support for all of our employees is our desired outcome. 

The Governor has released a plan to support child care in Iowa. That plan includes goals relative to funding and regulatory relief. Implementation will begin almost immediately for some of the financial incentives while regulatory matters will most likely be dealt with in the next Iowa legislative session. 

Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner. This is a very busy time for staff as we try to provide some extra support to families. Food boxes and Christmas gifts are being prepared through our Outreach offices. Thanks to the Outreach for their work and extra effort during the holiday season.

 

CHILD CARE RESOURCE & REFERRAL

Funding Awarded to Northwest Iowa Child Care Businesses

 In April 2021, the Department of Human Services (DHS) contracted with Mid-Sioux Opportunity, Inc. to implement the Investing in Iowa Child Care funding program. The program is administered by Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R).

 Investing in Iowa Child Care funding is intended to increase availability of child care throughout the State. Funding is available for businesses that are licensed or registered by DHS or are seeking to be licensed or registered by DHS. Child care businesses could apply for three types of funding:

  • Start-up funding: funding for applicants that are in the process of becoming licensed or registered by DHS.
  • Expansion funding: funding for child care facilities that are already licensed or registered but want to expand the number of children they are able to care for.
  • Urgent Regulatory funding: funding for child care facilities that are already licensed or registered and have an urgent need related to regulations.

 Through Investing in Iowa Child Care, funding has been awarded to 70 child care businesses in the 23 counties served by Mid-Sioux’s Child Care Resource and Referral program.

  •  16 Start-Up applications awarded
  • 28 Expansion applications awarded
  • 26 Urgent Regulatory applications awarded
  • 921 Estimated new child care slots created

 Kelsey Andersen, Director of Bluff's Little Thinkers, based in Sergeant Bluff, shares how Investing in Iowa Child Care funding has improved her business. 

On May 11th, 2021 my center was approved for the Investing in Iowa Child Care grant. I can still very vividly remember getting the email and being so excited just seeing the subject line. When I opened our letter with an approval amount, I instantly started crying tears of joy. Thanks to the Investing in Iowa Child Care we have been able to completely transform the inside of our center with all new classroom furniture, developmentally appropriate toys that foster learning, flooring, additions of classroom walls, research-based curriculum, professional sanitizers, and many other things. Along with the indoor changes, we were able to update our playground. Our contractor removed over 100 tons of pea gravel and wood chips from the current playground. We put in specially designed early childhood equipment that is rated for infants, toddlers and preschoolers, thousands of square feet of safe surfacing, and a privacy vinyl fence.  Now that we have the majority of the upgrades that we so desperately needed, we are able to increase our number of children to our full capacity which is 72 vs. our old operational capacity of 62.

 

LYON COUNTY OUTREACH

We are officially going to be back at our Rock Rapids office on November 3rd! We have had a few hiccups with the remodel but we are finally back in the office. We are going to be in the Rock Rapids location on Wednesdays from 9am to 4pm. 

We are starting to make appointments for the Liheap (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) season that started October 1st for the Rock Rapids office and we are hoping that we are able to serve the community there better now that we are going to be there once a week. 

We have also started taking applications for LiHWAP (Low Income Home Water Assistance Program) to help with the water bills. This is a new program that has been very helpful to clients who have been struggling to pay their water and sewer bill. 

This year, we are trying to help the elderly and disabled families in Lyon County with Holiday baskets. So far, we have had a good response from organizations and companies willing to donate or sponsor a family. If you are willing to sponsor a family this holiday season, please contact Sarah Kennedy at skennedy@midsioux.org or Pam Ericson at pericson@midsioux.org or call our office at 712-472-3746 for more information.  

 
Written by

MidSioux

Mid-Sioux Opportunity, Inc. is a not-for-profit Community Action Agency established in 1965 to fight poverty at a local level by assisting low-income families in Northwest Iowa to become self-sufficient.

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