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State looking to support, not close, child care facilities during coronavirus outbreak

23 Iowans have tested positive for COVID-19, but Iowa DHS has offered guidance for child care facilities to stay open to take care of kids.

With schools and businesses shuttered across Iowa due to the spread of COVID-19, many parents are wondering if it's safe to bring they kids to daycare. 

"I know what's in my house and I know that I am cleaning and I know who my kids are around so I would rather just have them at home," said Rebecca Adams, a mother who sends her kids to daycare.

Though Gov. Kim Reynolds recommended schools close for four weeks,the Iowa Department of Human Services is offering assistance to child care providers including payments to providers based on enrollment and not attendance, plus the department is "exploring ways to ramp-up child care capacity".

"We know that emergency events like this may cause significant stress on families and requires a continued focus on child protective services," Iowa DHS said in a statement. "We are developing strategies to identify children who may be at particular risk during this stressful time."

RELATED: Live updates: Coronavirus spread in Iowa cancels schools, temporarily shuts down businesses

RELATED: Gov. Reynolds: 23 positive coronavirus cases now in Iowa; schools won't need to make up lost time

The Iowa Department of Corrections is producing additional sanitizer, according to Iowa DHS.

Other measures include: 

  • Using Child Care Development Funds (CCDF) for Quality to provide ongoing financial assistance to providers to meet standards for health and safety, including additional cleaning measures, both preventative and responsive to illness.
  • Shifting DHS’ childcare inspection and regulatory functions to a role of providing technical assistance focused on hygiene and sanitation.
  • Providing social workers tools to be more mobile and to adapt as the situation unfolds.
  • Equipping social workers with screening questions to avoid potential exposure to children and our staff.
  • Evaluating cash, food and medical assistance benefit packages to ensure Iowans have access to essential supports

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