In 2002, Iowa was one of the six states/communities to receive a technical assistance grant from the North Carolina Smart Start National Technical Assistance Center to help strengthen and expand Iowa's state and local partnership for providing quality care and education for young children in Iowa.
A formal assessment of Iowa's early childhood capabilities in leadership; strategic planning; accountability; existing resources; organizational development at the state and local levels; and public support was conducted in March 2002 by the Smart Start team.
In 2003, the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) Bureau of Family Health, received an Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems Grant, which served as a two-year planning grant from the Health Resource and Services Administration (HRSA). IDPH and Iowa Community Empowerment have since partnered to develop a comprehensive plan for an Early Care, Health and Education system, which led to IDPH and Community Empowerment receiving a three-year implementation grant in 2005. The goals and objectives of the grant build on the system building work that was started during Iowa's technical assistance grant from North Carolina's Smart Start Technical Assistance Center.