UI Family Services strives to relieve stress of parenting on busy lives

The UI contracted with a daycare center to offer student parents free child care during finals week. UI Family Services offers Hawkeye students, staff and faculty childcare resources to eliminate one extra stressor in their lives.


Katie Goodale

Little Angels Learning Center and Preschool is seen on Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018. The University of Iowa is offering free childcare to parents during finals week so that parents may study.

Kinsey Phipps, News Reporter

The University of Iowa offers free childcare for student-parents the two weekends before to finals to allow the parents to prepare for the end of the semester, helping them cope with the stress of finals while navigating parenthood.

For student-parents, the UI offers a childcare subsidy program. This provides financial assistance to students by offering reimbursements for childcare costs, UI Family Services manager Diana Kremzar said.

“Having the childcare-subsidy program in particular shows students that the UI cares about their academic success,” Kramer said. “It’s something that increases people’s satisfaction with attending the UI. They invest in their families, as well.”

Brianda Salamanca, a UI student-parent, had her daughter early last year, and she has since used the childcare-subsidy program.

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“For me as a parent, it has helped me a lot as far as being able to go to classes and afford childcare,” she said. “It’s one less worry I have when I’m already financially strapped.”

UI Family Services sends mass emails, mails postcards, and works with academic advisers to get the word out, Kremzar said. Once people add dependents on their health insurance, UI Family Services reaches out to make them aware of the different childcare resources for parents, such as lactation rooms, the subsidy program, and finals childcare options, she said.

The UI has programs for Hawkeye faculty and staff, as well, including a list of all childcare centers within a 1.5-mile radius of campus. In addition, it works with childcare centers outside of that radius and provide referrals based on family needs, Kremzar said.

UI student Karrena Young works at Bright Horizons, a childcare center located in Westlawn, right next to the UI Hospitals & Clinics. Many medical faculty and hospital staff send their kids to Bright Horizons because of the convenient location, Young said.

“I think being able to have your kids on campus is super-beneficial,” Young said. “It’s very accessible to families who have their kids there, and parents can get there easily if they need to. Our hours are really long, so faculty and staff who work long hours don’t have to worry.”

There are also backup childcare centers available for Hawkeye parents for drop-ins if their normal provider is sick or on vacation, or if the family is in-between centers, Kremzar said. Caring Hands and More, 409 Kirkwood Ave., takes in children who are mildly ill and without a place to go while their parents are working. This is program is popular among UI Healthcare staff, she said.

“We do what we can to support our people, whether you’re faculty, staff, or students; we have a people-first approach to our work,” Kremzar said. “We want to make sure people are supported both in their work and personal lives.”

Salamanca will graduate this May.

“I always remind myself I have to finish school to give my child a better life, so one day she can look at me and know Mommy did it,” she said.