A state grant could help open a new home-based daycare in Sioux Center, a collaborative effort among local leaders seeking to address daycare needs.
The Sioux Center City Council recently approved accepting an $88,000 grant from the State of Iowa Future Ready Program awarded to the City for the development and renovation of a space to provide in-home childcare services.
The plan involves refurbishing a city-owned property at the south end of Central Park to set the building up as a daycare offering between 10 and 16 childcare slots. While the City will renovate and make the building available, the daycare will be operated privately. It could open as soon as this summer or fall, according to Assistant City Manager Dennis Dokter, who wrote the grant.
“This idea was identified through the efforts of our local Daycare Task Force, working to address the needs here,” Dokter said, adding that Sioux Center is in a “childcare desert.” This term means there are more than three times as many children as licensed or registered childcare slots.
Sioux Center’s Daycare Task Force includes business, Chamber, Sioux Center Health/Early Childhood Center, and City leaders who are invested in finding solutions to local childcare concerns. The idea to apply for this grant came out of the group’s recent discussions.
“We had identified that one of the barriers for those wanting to start an in-home daycare was that some want to provide this level of care in a facility that is separate of their primary residence,” said Sioux Center Chamber Executive Director Barb Den Herder, who first brought the task force together in the fall of 2018. “As a daycare task force, we recognize there isn’t just one solution to our childcare shortage. This is just one piece that can provide more care for children in our community.”
The task force is seeking an individual or team to operate the daycare. Those interested in learning more about running the daycare can speak with Den Herder at the Chamber or Dokter at the City Office. A request for proposals is available, and those interested must complete this by March 11.