Catherine McAuley Center offers child care training for refugees

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) A new training course is hoping to help refugees and solve a daycare shortage at the same time.

The Catherine McAuley Center hosted its first training for the Refugee Child Care Program in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday. The training is only available to refugees or people granted asylum who have lived in the U.S. for less than five years.

Once people are done with the training, they will be able to open a daycare in their home and be registered with Iowa's Department of Human Services.

Rebeca Furaha is Congolese and has lived in the U.S. for just nine months. She has been considering starting an in-home daycare business.

"I need to learn the rules and regulations in the U.S,” Furaha said.

A trained instructor helped the group go over those topics, including the necessary state paperwork needed for various age groups of children.
The entire program is eight training sessions and most go over best practices for childcare.

"And then first aid, CPR and mandatory reporting,” Refugee Child Care Coordinator Hannah Miles said.

A report this year from the Iowa Iowa Women's Foundation says a quarter of Iowans live in a childcare desert, which is an area where there is a shortage of registered or licensed child care options.

Staff at the McAuley Center hope this training will have a ripple effect.

"It works well to give some of these people an opportunity to stay home with their children, but also watch other children," Miles said. "So, not only the provider is making money, but other parents in the community can go to their jobs outside of the home and make money."

After the training, staff will help each refugee submit registration to DHS, and prepare for a home inspection. The center will also provide a few small business classes, where people can learn how to keep record books and do taxes.

Federal dollars from the Office of Refugee Resettlement pay for this program.