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State grant money helps daycares in Cedar Rapids add more childcare slots

Published: Oct. 15, 2021 at 5:33 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -The “Investing in Iowa’s Child Care” program aims to help communities create more childcare openings, and four daycares in Cedar Rapids were awarded substantial grants this year to do just that.

Trinity Early Childhood Academy received $59,196. They’ve been able to expand programming to add 14 more slots and attract staff at the same time.

“Last year at this time we had about 4 full-time staff and by December this year we’ll have 11 full-time staff,” Stephanie Jemtrud, early childhood program administrator at Trinity Early Childhood Academy, said.

Every child in Trinity’s “First Steps” room, ages 1 to 3, is new as of June. Prior to receiving the grant money, the center only served children 3 years and older.

”We were happy that we could use it and support our community in childcare need,” Jemtrud said.

Happy Hollow Preschool and Childcare in Cedar Rapids was awarded $47,384.

“Getting the staffing has been a struggle,” Angela Campbell, the co-Owner of Happy Hollow, said.

The center told us this week they’re hoping to add more staff soon so they welcome more kids.

KidsPoint in Cedar Rapids is in a similar place. They were awarded $183,000 to create 246 new slots, but they need more workers first. The center has added some as of late, but not enough to open up to more families.

Trinity Early Childhood Academy tells us they’re in a unique spot because they’re housed inside Trinity Lutheran School. It’s something they believe has helped them attract the staff needed to expand.

”We offer our teachers a salary based, they get a great benefits package, paid time off, retirement contributions and things like that so I think that draws a profession,” Jemtrud said.

Big Starts Little Hearts Daycare was the fourth daycare in the city to be awarded money, they got $8,905.59.

Each and every spot daycares are able to open up can make a difference for a family looking for childcare.

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