The Iowa Department of Human Services will implement a $30 million recruitment and retention bonus program for Iowa child care providers, as recommended by Gov. Kim Reynolds’ Child Care Task Force. “Child care is the backbone of our economy,” said Iowa DHS Director Kelly Garcia. “This recruitment and retention program will help bolster Iowa’s child care workforce and help support the families that rely on it. This is a significant investment in our state and in our future.” Many of the task force members stressed the need to “professionalize the child care profession” and task force chair Emily Schmitt said doing so starts with investing in providers. “That’s going to encourage those employees to see there’s a viable future in the profession. Every business is struggling with labor. Supporting child care will not only enable those Iowans but ultimately help the workforce,” Schmitt said. A spokesperson from Iowa DHS said the program is funded by American Reinvestment Act dollars. Current child development home providers, licensed child care center staff and newly hired employees are eligible for the bonuses, each of which is $1,000. Sign-on bonuses will be available 90 days after the date of hire. Six months after the initial sign-on bonus and every six months thereafter, those meeting the requirements will be eligible for retention bonuses until the funding runs out. More details will be published on the Iowa DHS website closer to the target launch date in February. To date, Iowa has invested $480 million to support child care since the beginning of the pandemic.