Senate sends child care ‘cliff’ bill to governor

    Top employers in Iowa have asked lawmakers for more support for child care options. (Photo by Getty Images)

    The Senate on Monday unanimously passed a bill that would phase out child care assistance rather than abruptly ending it when a family’s income increases.

    The House in February also unanimously passed House File 302, which now heads to the governor’s desk.

    The graduated phase-out, which would set assistance from the Iowa Department of Human Services based on family income compared to poverty levels, would be implemented by July 2022. DHS would set rules setting the specifics of the phase-out.

    Business groups have long pushed for legislation to help with the “cliff effect,” in which a family member could lose child-care benefits by taking a job or earning a promotion. In many such cases, the family income is still low enough to force the family to struggle financially, business leaders have said.

    Perry Beeman
    Senior reporter Perry Beeman has nearly 40 years of experience in Iowa journalism and has won national awards for environmental and business writing. He has written for The Des Moines Register and the Business Record, where he also served as managing editor. He also is former editorial director of Grinnell College. He co-authored the recently published book, "The $80 Billion Gamble," which details the lottery-rigging case of Eddie Tipton.