Frequently Asked Questions

The office of Child Care and Family Services 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!

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 Iowa 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. 

There are three child care centers on the ISU campus. The centers are:

Developmentally appropriate best practices, combined with nurturing and consistent environments, make ISU campus child care an excellent choice!

Yes, there is! All our campus child care centers are:

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.

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.

Fees are charged on a sliding fee scale based on income. Please contact our office or each individual center for more information.

For help paying for child care services, the following services, agencies, and scholarship programs may be of assistance to your family.

  • The Iowa Department of Human Services provides the Child Care Assistance Program to help pay for child care while a parent or caretaker works or attends school.
  • Our office has two programs to assist ISU student parents with the cost of child care: Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) and Childcare Assistance Program (CAP) Scholarship. To learn more, visit our Financial Assistance page.

For more information, contact our office at

Iowa State University currently has over 25 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 our Lactation Support website.

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.

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. Iowa 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 County areas of programs that will provide short term and back-up care for other providers. Limited drop-in child care services may be available at the ISU Child Care Center at Vet Med. Inquire about availability by calling the center directly at (515) 294-2273. For additional information and resources about back-up care, click here.

You may use Post A Job on the Office of Student Financial Aid website to advertise for someone to come to your home to provide child care. Additional places to look for occasional care include College Sitter Contact and For additional information, click here.

Yes, there is! Both the 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. 

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.

  • 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 and community resources
  • And basically any other type of work/life question or issue you may have that is related to child care or families.