Frequently Asked Questions on Child Care Programs

Paces to Quality

What does Paces to Quality do?

Paces to Quality provides a menu of supports (site visits, equipment grants, training) and resources (accreditation/Child Development Associate (CDA), environmental rating scales) to home and center-based child care programs in order to improve the quality of early learning environments. Paces to Quality works with each early care provider at his or her current skill level. The program offers support to home and center-based providers who may not be familiar with the tools to improve quality. Each participant will be provided multiple strategies to make positive changes in the early care and education environments.

What do parents need to know when looking for quality childcare?

What should parents see when looking for quality child care

As your child's parent or guardian, you are the most qualified to decide what is the best child care option for your family.

  • Screen caregivers by phone first, then schedule a visit or multiple visits
  • Interview each caregiver and leave yourself plenty of time for questions and observations. Ask for references and follow-up with calls to the references
  • Use a checklist during your visit and interview. (We searched on the internet using the words, "choosing child care" and several free PDF documents popped up). The checklist should include Health & Safety, Physical Environment, Learning Activities, Caregiver Interactions and Program Structure
  • You may expect to sign a written agreement which defines caregiver and parent expectations (Hours, vacations, sick days, fees, meals, emergency procedures)
  • Trust your instincts in choosing the best child care option!

Do all child care providers have to join Paces to Quality?

No, but we hope anyone considering child care as a professional will consider being a Paces to Quality home or center-based provider. You may contact us for more information or questions at 1-800-233-0054 or 319-739-1556.

Are you from the Department of Human Services (DHS)?

No, Paces to Quality is not a regulatory agency; our services and provider participation are purely voluntary.

Family Connections Library

What is Family Connections Library?

Family Connections Library (FCL) is a collaboration of multiple agencies and programs working together to promote early learning & healthy development in young children and families. We do this by having resources, activities and support available for children, families and caregivers at the Cedar Rapids Public Library.

What do you do?

Family Connections offers a variety of activities, resources and support for children, families and caregivers at the Cedar Rapids Public Library. In addition to Family Connections being a one-stop place for early childhood opportunities, Family Connections provides a network of programs to support early childhood in our community.

What's available for families?

Family Connections has a variety of resources available for families. There are child development and early childhood resource books, DVDs and CDs available for check-out. There are many & varied family and child activity opportunities offered at the library through FCL Partners. Some activities are ongoing like Play & Learn and 6-week parent group sessions; other activities are offered on a limited basis like Healthy Child Screening Day or Hop Skip & Learn.

What's available for childcare providers?

Family Connections also has a variety of resources available for child care providers and caregivers. There are child development, early childhood & curriculum resource books, DVDs and CDs available for check-out. DHS-approved trainings are frequently offered at the Cedar Rapids Public Library through partner agencies. The Teacher Connection Make & Take Lab is available for child care provider and teachers to make educational items for low costs. (Lab reservations can be made with 2-day notice by emailing familyconnectionslibrary@gmail.com

Who are the partners?

Additional partners may join at any time or participate in specific events. However, currently we have 17 partners including:
Cedar Rapids Community School District

Head Start

With Head Start, do the families have to pay for full day services?

There are no fees for children & families enrolled in Head Start/Early Head Start. All supplies and materials are provided for enrolled children.

Are the parents required to work to have all day services?

Parent(s) are required to be working and/or attending school for a minimum of 28 hours per week to receive full day services. This is verified at time of enrollment by completing a work/school verification form. Parents are required to provide proof of working and/or going to school through paycheck stubs and/or school enrollment forms.

Where does Head Start funding come from?

Head Start/Early Head Start program services are funded through grants. Awarded grants are from the federal, state and local levels.

Do Head Start hours of operation meet family needs?

Head Start/Early Head Start hours of operation are dependent on the funding source and classroom program. Part Day services are four days a week for three and one half hours and are offered in the morning or afternoon. Full day program operations are nine to ten hours a day five days a week. We do not offer evening or weekend care, but are able to refer families to Child Care Resource and Referral to assist with unmet child care needs.

Why doesn't HACAP provide transportation?

HACAP strategic planning showed that families need and request full day, full year child care services. Funds have been allocated to support the full day, full year program option. A majority of centers are located on or in close proximity to bus lines.