June 2021 Volume 31; Issue 9
You can view the complete newsletter here.
From the Executive Director's Desk
The state legislature has ended the 2021 session. That was just in time as the new state fiscal year begins on June 1st. An increase of $1 million dollars was approved for the Family Development & Self-Sufficiency (FaDSS) program. This is substantial and will help local programs a great deal. State Representative Tom Jeanery and State Representative Jacob Bossman were very helpful in seeing that this increase was agreed to. Thanks to both of them for their support. FaDSS works with families in achieving economic self-sufficiency. Our local program returns nearly $2 for each $1 invested and families are able to move up the economic ladder.
Changes to the childcare services in Iowa were also agreed to. A major step was taken to eliminate the “cliff effect” for persons trying to go back to work but have difficulty meeting child care expenses. An extension of childcare benefits was agreed to which will help ease this burden as families increase their income. As one legislator said to me, “This is a big deal.” I agree, this is something that has been discussed for many years and is now moving forward. Representative Bossman took a strong leadership role on childcare matters. Raising tax credits for family childcare expenses and increasing the reimbursement rate for child care subsidies are just two of the childcare bills passed this year. Thank you Representative Bossman.
Federal-level discussions regarding infrastructure funding and the 2022 budget continue. It is likely that it will take most of the summer to get these matters finished. I am hopeful for a compromise as the country is working hard to get back to pre-Covid-19 practices.
The coming weeks will be busy with childcare-related activity and preparing renewal contracts for many of our services.
Administration is the part of every organization that works to support agency individual departments/services while keeping in mind the needs of the agency as a whole. We need to realize that programs and services have needs and must keep their focus but without the agency, there would be no services.
Having a number of contracts/services within Mid-Sioux is very beneficial. For the people we serve it becomes a “one-stop location” to apply for services. This means we can refer families from one program to another and families do not have to seek out several organizations to get the help they need. Having numerous services under one roof is also more cost-effective. Common costs can be shared and joint activities such as training can be made available to more people.
Administrative costs at Mid-Sioux are less than 7% of our total budget. Administrative costs are considered to be efficient if they are less than 15%. This is possible due to the variety of services we offer.
COVID-19 services have been added to many of our existing contracts. State and Federal agencies look to community action agencies like Mid-Sioux to assist during emergencies. This was certainly the case during COVID-19. This practice helps to make operations more efficient as systems are already in place.
In reality, all staff help to support administrative services. Providing quality and effective services is extremely important. Thanks to everyone for helping to support Mid-Sioux.
IDA COUNTY OUTREACH
We continue to serve Ida County families over the phone Monday through Friday by contacting our Cherokee office at 712-225-3322 or by calling 712-786-3483 or 712-786-3475. We are currently taking applications for past due rent or utility assistance. We can also assist with Head Start and Early Head Start applications over the phone and are still taking applications for the next school year. We would be happy to answer any questions you may have.
We will once again be providing income-eligible families a backpack as well as some supplies to start the school year. These items will be dispersed to families in August. Letters will soon be sent out to potential sponsors and families in Ida County. If you know of a family that could use some assistance, send them our way to complete an application.
We are able to provide the supplies along with a backpack to families for approximately $25/child. The feedback received in past years from the families as well as the schools has been quite positive. If you or someone you know would like to sponsor a child in need this year, please contact our Central Office at 1-800-859-2025 and ask to speak to Laura.
CHILD CARE RESOURCE & REFERRAL
Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) of Northwest Iowa would like to congratulate Jennifer McGregor, Child Care Consultant, as she completed the Program for Infant/ Toddler Care (PITC) training modules 1-4. PITC of Iowa approach equates good care with training infant/toddler providers who are preparing themselves and the environment so that infants can learn. For care to be effective, it must explore ways to help providers get "in tune" with each infant they serve and their individual needs. As a PITC Specialist, Jennifer will be able to provide services on technical assistance, consultation and training for the unique needs of infants and toddlers for Preschool and Child Care Programs.
CCR&R continues to accept applications for the Investing in Iowa Child Care (IICC) program. IICC is a funding program intended to increase the availability of child care throughout the state. The program is administered by CCR&R with funds from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021. Funding is available for programs that are licensed or registered by the Department of Human Services (DHS) or are seeking to be licensed or registered by DHS.
CCR&R began taking applications and working with new and existing providers on proposed budgets right away. A big shout-out and thank you goes out to all of the CCR&R staff for your dedication and hard work to increase the availability of child care in Iowa! #TogetherWeWill..BuildChildCareSolutions
The Mid-Sioux Opportunity Head Start and the Child Development Center programs are currently taking applications for their FREE preschool programs for children ages 3 & 4. Please call 800-859-2025 for more information or to do an application. Give your child a Head Start in their education!