Gov. Kim Reynolds announced today she’s awarding $36.6 million in child care grants through the Child Care Challenge program. The money will fund 108 programs in 72 communities, and is expected to create about 5,200 additional child care slots across the state. Currently it’s estimated that Iowa faces a shortage of more than 60,000 slots. The Child Care Challenge Fund was created last year to aid in the construction of new child care facilities or the renovation and expansion of existing structures. The fund matches private investments dollar for dollar and helps close fundraising gaps to start projects. In its initial round, the initiative doled out $13 million in grants to more than 60 providers. Last November, Reynolds announced she was expanding the program to accommodate an overwhelming number of quality applications. In this round of funding, Iowa Workforce Development and the Iowa Department of Human Services contributed $26.9 million to the fund through federal DHS funds with the remaining $9.7 million appropriated by the Iowa Legislature and federal ARPA funds. Read more Business Record coverage on the child care crisis in Iowa on the Fearless website.