Johnson County Social Services’ is now accepting applications for its new Child Care Assistance Incentive Program. Applications will be accepted through August 1, 2023, for the first round of approvals. After that date, applications will be accepted and approved on a first-received, first-funded basis. Applications are available on the Johnson County website at www.johnsoncountyiowa.gov/ss. This program is a result of Johnson County’s investment of funds received from the federal government through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
The Child Care Assistance Incentive Program was developed to create additional opportunities for Johnson County families eligible for Child Care Assistance to access quality child care in their community. Currently, only 9% of child care slots in Johnson County centers are accessible to families participating in Iowa’s Child Care Assistance Program, a federally funded initiative that provides tuition support for working families with incomes at or below 160% of the federal poverty level. Despite a recent increase in state reimbursement for these slots, the reimbursement still only covers about 82% of the market rate for infant care in Johnson County. The goal of this program is to incentivize child care providers to expand the number of available slots in their programs for children aged 0-2 who are eligible for child care assistance.
Despite a recent increase in state reimbursement for these slots, the reimbursement rate is still less than the average market rate for infant care in Johnson County. Johnson County is committed to utilizing ARPA to enhance investments in public services and maximize the impacts of our local fiscal recovery allocation. The County's ARPA Team has been working since February 2021 to research and discuss the many aspects of this funding. Johnson County solicited public input from May to October 2021 using a series of online surveys and tools as well as six in-person public input sessions held throughout the county.
More information about ARPA and how it impacts Johnson County is available at https://www.johnsoncountyiowa.gov/arpa.