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Create a licensed center

Out-of-School Time (OST) is supervised programming that youth regularly participate in before school, after school, and during summer break. These programs keep young people safe, provide child care for working families, and organize activities that help youth develop skills and improve academically. Sometimes, these programs are collectively referred to as “afterschool”.

Creating a Licensed Center

So you'd like to create a licensed child care center? Wonderful!

Congratulations on developing an out-of-school time program for youth in your community. Research tells us that youth who are engaged in high quality out-of-school time programming demonstrate greater positive results than their peers who do not participate. Some of these key indicators of success include: 

  • Improved literacy skills and scores 

  • Improved math skills and scores 

  • Improved behaviors 

  • Decreased juvenile delinquency 


This toolkit is designed to assist programs who are starting from the ground up, programs that are developing out-of-school time programming from an existing source, and for those who are well established but need some additional support or fresh ideas to re-engage and reconnect programming. This toolkit can be downloaded as one PDF document or each section can be accessed individually below.

Full Document

Iowa Afterschool Alliance: Afterschool in a Box Toolkit

Download the full toolkit.


Department of Health and Human Services 

Official Page of the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services

Becoming a Licensed Provider

All the information necessary to begin the process of becoming a licensed child care provider. Includes; licensing rules and minimum standards, application initiation, new orientation packet, consultant map, and more! 

New Licensed Provider Application Process

Process too apply to become a licensed child care provider in Iowa. 

Initial checklist for the Department of Health and Human Services

Checklist for providers.

Child Care Resources and Referral Website

Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R), provides professional development and consultation services to support child care centers, families, and is the home of Iowa Quality for Kids child care rating system. 

Find a Health and Human Service Consultant in Your Region

A regional map to locate an HHS Consultant.

Health and Human Services Childcare Provider Portal (Existing and New Licensed Centers)

HHS Childcare Provider resource portal, for existing and newly licensed centers. 

iPower Training Registry for Licensed Providers

Professional training portal for staff of licensed providers. 

Iowa Quality 4 Kids

Iowa's Child Care Quality Rating and Improvement System for Licensed Child Care Centers. 

All Health and Human Services Links

A comprehensive list of HHS resource links. 

Get involved with IAA
Register for the Impact Afterschool Conference
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