Clayton County presents child care strategic plan

More spaces. More caregivers. More awareness. Those are the three goals outlined in the Clayton County Foundation for the Future’s new child care strategic plan for the county.

Following a six-month engagement process, Clayton County Foundation for the Future presented a countywide strategic child care plan this month. A fall 2023 survey of over 200 employers, providers and families indicated a shortage as high as 975 available child care spaces during the school year.

Stakeholders representing communities across the county gathered early this year for a series of three-hour meetings to study the results of local surveys and an array of potential solutions. Guided by Angie Rae Duncan with First Children’s Finance, these stakeholders created a set of goals and strategies as outlined below. “This plan is based on what community members have said they want and are able to do,” said Duncan.

  • Goal 1: Increase the number of regulated child care spaces in Clayton County by a minimum of 48 spaces by 2029. Strategies to reach this goal include increasing the number of registered child development homes, establishing child care committees to address needs in individual communities, and exploring expansion options for existing child care centers.
  • Goal 2: Increase the current and future child care labor pool in Clayton County through training and partnerships. Strategies to reach this goal include exploration of a countywide child care wage enhancement program, offering training and work experience needed to obtain a Child Development Associate credential, and developing a staff pipeline. 
  • Goal 3: Increase awareness of the need for regulated child care in Clayton County by engaging local employers and other community partners in child care solutions. Strategies to reach this goal include establishing a committee to steward the strategic plan, informing employers and other partners about efforts including this plan, providing parents information to assist them in finding child care, and developing a campaign to increase community awareness of and appreciation for regulated child care.

“The availability of quality child care is an issue that is so important to quality of life for many families,” says Emily Sadewasser, executive director for the Foundation. “It's also an economic development issue that affects the workforce, employers, and the overall economic health of a community. We knew it was important for us to help with the effort to better understand the current state of child care in Clayton County and to facilitate the creation of a plan to address local challenges.”

View the market analysis, the strategic plan or plan summary here. To learn more or get involved in solutions to these challenges, contact Emily Sadewasser at

This project is sponsored in part by the Iowa Economic Development Authority. Funding partners include Alpine Communications and Aureon, the Clayton County Board of Supervisors, Clayton County Development Group, Guttenberg Municipal Hospitals and Clinics and the Roger and Connie Halvorson CCFF Fund for Entrepreneurship.

The Foundation offers many opportunities to improve quality of life by addressing an array of local issues. To learn more about how you can establish a fund or make a gift that impacts your community, contact Sadewasser at 563-880-6044.