Our Mission is to work together for the benefit of Union County to develop and/or expand an Early Childhood Development Center where children can learn and grow both physically and mentally, through play, in a safe and caring environment.
Union County, Iowa has been identified as a child care desert. The Center for American Progress defines a child care desert as any census tract with more than 50 children younger than age 5 that has no child care providers or has more than three times as many children as it has licensed child care slots. Across the state, 23 percent of Iowans live in a child care desert. The rate jumps to 35 percent for rural Iowans.
“The Iowa Women’s Foundation believes that Iowa is in a child care crisis. This crisis is no longer a family issue. It’s a workforce issue, a business issue and a community issue. We all need to come together to address it or it will continue to get worse,” Iowa Women's Foundation executive director Dawn Oliver Wiand.
According to Quad Counties 4 Kids, there is a projected shortfall of 1,296 available spaces in the next 5 years. Our objective is to offset that number by creating a center that will double that of our current child care center space. We anticipate a net increase of 125 spaces by 2023 of quality, affordable child care.
We have partnered with First Children's Finance to complete a Child Care Market Analysis for our region. Your feedback was an integral component to ensure we have the information that we need to provide outstanding child care for our workforce. Click here to view the survey results.
The parties of this committee are collaborating to plan and develop a new or expanding child care center that is dedicated to fostering a positive environment for early child development while meeting current and future child care needs. The scope of this center will be to focus on children from ages 6 weeks - 5 years old as well as wrap around services through extended hours for children ages up to 11 in one location. Today, our public child care is based in two locations over a mile apart. I Think I Can is a traditional day care center in an aging building. Their after school child care is located at 901 N. Elm St, which is also where Junior Kindergarten and Kindergarten classrooms are located. Currently, the Creston School Administration and Board is considering vacating the classrooms at 901 N. Elm St, in which the committee would like to renovate the space to serve the needs of the Early Childhood Development Center (ECDC). We believe this will double our capacity for child care availability, serving approximately 250 children.
This site will act as a working document to share progress made by the committee to create the ECDC. Once the ECDC is operational, this site will serve as a resource for business partners, parents, schools and the community.
The following members are currently on the Child Care Center Committee:
Kristie Nixon - ECE/PAT Director, Southwestern Community College
Vicki Sickels - Director, Quad Counties 4 Kids Early Childhood Area
Amy Rieck - Chief Human Resources Officer, Greater Regional Health
Deron Stender - Superintendent, Creston Community School District
Callie Anderson - Elementary PK-K Principal, Creston Community School District
Shirley Urich - Community Development Specialist, Childcare Resource & Referral Southwest Iowa
Wayne Pantini - Executive Director, Union County Development Association
Ellen Gerharz - Executive Director, Creston Chamber of Commerce
Randy Huewe - President & CEO, First National Bank
Adam Snodgrass - President & CEO, Iowa State Savings Bank
Tom Lesan - Vice President of Economic Development, Southwestern Community College
Jenny Moon - Childcare Consultant Supervisor, Childcare Resource & Referral Southwest Iowa
Mindy Stalker - Talent Development Director, Union County Development Association
Julie Lang - Head Start Director, MATURA Head Start
301 W Montgomery St
Creston, Iowa 50801