- Child Care Services
- Financial Assistance
- Student Parent Resource Hub
- Lactation Spaces
- Resource Library
- Contact Us
- University Child Care Committee
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the office of Child Care & Family Resources and how can you be of help to me?
The office of Child Care & Family Resources is a unit of University Human Resources. We support the academic mission through offering collaborative services, programs, and resources within ISU and the surrounding community to assist students, faculty and staff fulfill the often competing responsibilities of work, family, and personal lives. Our office is available to provide assistance to you as you develop a system of care and support for your family. Whether you need assistance looking for child care services, resources, financial assistance, or developing networks, we can help! We welcome you to contact us with any questions!
I'm expecting a baby. How soon should I start looking for child care?
This is a great question! Start your search as soon as you have a due date for the arrival of your new baby. A good starting point is to contact Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) at 855-CHILD-01. CCR&R helps parents locate professional child care providers both on campus and in the community using a personalized referral process. There is a variety of child care settings from which you may choose, depending on the needs of your family. You are best qualified to judge which setting will be most appropriate for your family. These may include child care centers, preschools, family child care homes, playgroups, or recreational programs. Parents will also receive information on how to evaluate child care options.
Our campus child care centers have a much higher demand that we can meet. We advise you to place your name on multiple child care waiting lists.
How many child care centers are located on the ISU campus?
Currently, there are three child care sites on the ISU campus. The centers include the University Child Care Center at Veterinary Medicine; University Community Childcare; and the Child Development Laboratory School. Developmentally appropriate best practices, combined with nurturing and consistent environments, make ISU campus child care an excellent choice!
Is there something special about the campus child care centers?
Yes, there is! All our campus child care centers are:
- Licensed by the Iowa Department of Human Services;
- Nationally accredited by the National Association for the Education of the Young Children (NAEYC). Each center complies with hundreds of standards related to safety and physical space, staff supervision and training, and curriculum and program planning;
- Level 5 rated services - the highest possible - from Iowa's Quality Rating System (QRS).
The campus child care programs also provide students, researchers, and practitioners opportunities to observe and work with young children, while serving as model early care and education programs for young children and their families.
Who is eligible to enroll in the campus child care centers?
ISU community members are granted priority enrollment at the campus child care centers. The centers care for children ages 6 weeks through preschool. University Community Childcare provides services for school-age children (kindergarten through fifth grade) for before and after school. A full day program is offered during public school breaks and the summer months. Please inquire with the Child Development Laboratory School website for a complete description of policies and procedures that guide programming and enrollment at the facility.
What are the costs for the campus child care centers?
Fees are charged on a sliding fee scale based on income. Please contact our office or each individual center for more information.
Is there any financial assistance available to help pay for child care costs?
For help paying for child care services, the following services, agencies, and scholarship programs may be of assistance to your family.
- Financial assistance for ISU students may be available for income-eligible student families (CAP - Childcare Assistance Program, and CCAMPIS - Child Care Access Means Parents In School). You may contact our office at email@example.com, or visit our Financial Assistance page for more information.
- The Department of Human Services is an income based state assistance program that provides a variety of services to families, including child care assistance, food assistance, medical insurance, and possibly a month stipend.
For more information, contact our office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am an Iowa State University student and I also have children. How do I get connected with other student parents on campus?
We recognize that students with children are committed to providing and caring for a family. In order to support student parents in their educational journey, we offer PASS (Parents As Student Support Group) as a way to connect to your peers. We have a series of meet-ups each semester as a way to connect to other student parents for advice, support, friendship, and so much more. We also help host:
- family friendly events
- child care solutions, pregnancy and lactation support
- financial aid solutions
- or other community involvement
Come take a break with us, eat, or have a cup of coffee. We will be meeting regularly once a month without our families…this is your time! Follow us on Facebook for the most up to date information.
We hope you will join us…we look forward to seeing you!
I am a new mother and I am choosing to breasfeed my baby. Where are the lactation spaces on campus?
Iowa State University currently has over 20 designated lactation spaces on campus. These are available for use by all staff, faculty, students, and visitors to our campus. Each space has an electrical outlet, chair, table, and most have a lockable door. You will find a printable list of lactation spaces, along with additional resources on the Lactation Spaces website.
I am an ISU employee. Does ISU have a Dependent Care Assistance Program?
Yes, we do!
The health care flexible spending account (FSA) & dependent care assistance program (DCAP) help you save money on medical and dependent child care expenses. Use these accounts to leverage your household’s savings. By contributing a portion of your pay into an FSA or DCAP on a pre-tax basis, you may save from 25% to 40% on the cost of eligible expenses you are already incurring. These plans are administered through ASIFlex.
What happens if my child is sick?
Typically, a sick child is excluded from their regular child care setting during an illness. We are fortunate to have a mildly-ill child care program on campus - the Comfort Zone. This service provides care for children 6 months through fifth grade who are suffering from routine childhood illnesses. The goal of the program is to help children slowly return to normal activity during a time of illness and for parents to be able to attend work or class as necessary.
The Comfort Zone is located at the north entrance of the Family Resource Center (2623 Bruner Drive in Ames) and managed by University Community Childcare. The Comfort Zone is available to children of ISU students, faculty, staff, and the community. As required by the Iowa Child Care Licensing Standards, all children must be pre-registered and files must be current before being admitted for care. Fees are charged on a half-day basis with a sliding fee scale based on family income. You may contact the Comfort Zone at 515-294-3333 or by email.
Did you know that working parents are absent from their jobs or education 5 to 29 days per year caring for their ill children? Please remember to pre-register for the Comfort Zone so you are ready for those unexpected life situations!
*The Comfort Zone is only open from the first Tuesday after Labor Day through finals week in May.
My home provider is not available and I need back-up child care to attend work or school.
When a provider is unavailable due to illness or vacation, emergency child care situations can be frustrating and difficult to deal with. Plan ahead the best you can.
Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) can help you meet your child care needs, as they have a database of over 100 options in the Ames/Story County/Boone areas of programs that will provide short term and back-up care for other providers.
Drop-in child care services is available at the ISU Child Care Center at Veterinary Medicine on a limited basis. Reservations can be made by calling the center directly at 515-294-2273.
How do I find someone to occasionally care for my children when I have to work late or have an evening test?
My child will be four years old and I would like to enroll them in Ames Community School District's Statewide Voluntary Preschool, but I'm working and cannot transport my child to the Northwood Preschool Center each day. Is there another option?
Yes, there is! Both the ISU Child Development Laboratory School and University Community Childcare have partnered with the Ames Community School District to provide the Statewide Voluntary Preschool program. Children who are 4 years old on or before September 15 each year are eligible to enroll for 10 free hours of preschool. Wrap-around care is available at these sites.
Iowa's Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program for Four-Year-Old Children is an important part of the state's comprehensive early childhood effort, providing more opportunities for young children to access quality preschool and enter school ready to learn.
My family and I are new to the Ames area. Where can I find more information about family services on campus and in the community?
Our office has developed a Family Resource Guide to provide families with information on a wide variety of services, resources and programs available at Iowa State University, the City of Ames and the Story County community. If you have more questions, please don't hesitate to contact us.
The City of Ames has earned numerous awards for being a progressive, innovative, and exciting community. Ames has been recognized locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally for our schools, creativity, commitment to the environment, and numerous amenities. Ames and Iowa State together offer an unsurpassed quality of life. To learn more about Ames, visit their website.
What other services does your office provide?
- Information regarding other types of care, such as child care cooperatives, child care in your home, nanny services, or occasional child care;
- Interpreting quality standards, Iowa licensing regulations, and developmentally appropriate best practices;
- Family & Parenting Resources;
- Campus & Community Resources;
- And basically any other type of work/life question or issue you may have that is related to child care or families.
We are here to help you balance school, work and parenting!
How can I be more involved with campus child care initiatives?
The University Child Care Committee is a group of individuals (faculty, staff, and students) passionate about advancing child care services and promoting affordable, accessible, and quality child care for the ISU community. Through their work, the group provides recommendations to the ISU Administration and Campus Child Care Coordinator. To join, contact us! We will be happy to send you more information on meeting dates and times. All meetings are open to the public.