Iowa Iowa Daycare Requirements
State Requirements
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Licensing Requirements
Your state's Licensing Requirements
and contact numbers.

Licensing Standards for DayCare Centers Licensing Standards for Family DayCare
Daycare Consultants Contact Information FAQ - Child Care Assistance Invoices
Iowa Quality Rating System    

Worker Qualifications
Child Care Workers or Teachers: Must be at least 16 years old.

Provider /Child Ratio
Age Range Ratios for Center Based Care in Iowa State
6 weeks - 18 Months (1:4)
27 months (1:6)
3 years (1:8)
4 years (1:12)
5 - 9 years (1:15)
10 years and older (1:15)
Mixed age group ratio for youngest child in group
Age Range Ratios for Small Family Child Care Iowa
Number of Children Allowed: 6 (plus 2 school-age children)
Maximum Number of Children to One Provider: 6
Provider's Own Children Counted: Yes, if younger than school-age
Maximum Number of Infants/Toddlers to One Provider: 4 younger than 2 years, with no more than 3 younger than 18 months
Age Range Ratios for Large Family Child Care Iowa
Number of Children Allowed: 6-12
(plus 2 school-age children and 2 part-time)
Number of Children Allowed: 3:1 for younger than 18 months; 8:1 with no more than 4 younger than 2 years, and no more than 3 younger than 18 months
Provider's Own Children Counted: Yes, if younger than school-age
Regulation in Iowa for Child Care

Registered Child Development Homes Iowa law limits the number of children a home may provide child care for, whether the home is registered or not. A nonregistered child care home may care for up to five children. A home caring for six children must be registered.
Under registration a provider self-certifies in writing that they do and will meet the minimum requirements in all areas of child development home operation. In issuing a registration certificate, the Department of Human Services is stating that you have certified that you comply with these requirements. Responsibility for making sure the requirements are met rests primarily with the provider, the parents of children in the provider's care and the community.

Licensed Child Care Center and Preschool
Iowa law limits the number of children a center may provide child care for without a license or registration as a child development home. A provider caring for six or more children must be registered and when a center cares for seven or more children it must be licensed.

Under licensing a provider applies for a license and the facility is visited and evaluated by a professional staff person who determines if the minimum regulatory requirements are meet or if there is an acceptable plan to meet all the standards before a license is issued. In issuing a license, the Department of Human Service is stating that the provider meets the necessary requirements.

Public and Accredited Nonpublic Schools
The Board of Directors of a public district or an accredited nonpublic school may operate or contract for the operation of a program to provide child care to children on property owned or leased by the board.

A child care program operated by or under contract of a public or an accredited nonpublic school system located on school premises has the option to be licensed by the Department of Human Services or meet the Early Childhood Guidelines adopted by the State Board of Education. If a public or an accredited nonpublic school system chooses to follow the Early Childhood Guidelines the person responsible for the program must hold an appropriate teaching license from the Board of Educational Examiners. Public and accredited nonpublic schools are monitored by professional staff to determine if the school systems meet the regulatory requirements to be an accredited educational program. In issuing the school an accreditation status, the Department of Education is stating that the school meets the necessary requirements.

A child care program operated by or under contract of a public or an accredited nonpublic school system not located on school premises must be licensed by the Department of Human Services.

Quality Rating System
Iowa now has a Quality Rating System (QRS). It is a voluntary program that offers providers a guided way to improve the quality of child care they provide.


Contact Information

Child Care Licensing Agency
Iowa Department of Human Services
1305 East Walnut Street, 5th floor
Des Moines, IA 50319-0114
Phone: (515) 281-0429
Fax: (515) 242-6036
Iowa Daycare Listings

Child Care Subsidy Agency
Bureau of Family and Community Services
Hoover State Office Building
1305 E. Walnut, Division of BDPS, 5th Floor
Des Moines, IA 50319-0114
Phone: (515) 2281-7266
Toll Free: 800-972-2017
Fax: (515) 242-6036
Professional Development Contact
Iowa Early Care & Education Professional Development
218 Sixth Avenue, Suite 710
Des Moines, IA 50309
Phone: (515) 883-1206
Child Care Food Program Agency
Bureau of Food and Nutrition
Department of Education
Grimes State Office Building
Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0146
Phone: (515) 281-4757
Fax: (515) 281-6548
Office of Child Support Enforcement
Collection Services Center
PO Box 9125
Des Moines, IA 50306
Phone: (888) 229-9223

State Child Care Resource & Referral Contact
Department of Human Services
1305 E. Walnut Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50319
Toll Free: 800-972-2017
Phone: (515) 281-8746
Fax: (515) 281-8854

Child Abuse Reporting
To report suspected child abuse in Iowa, call Toll-Free: (800) 362-2178.

For national child abuse information, call the Childhelp®, 800-4-A-CHILD (800-422-4453), or your local CPS agency.


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