About us


Iowa CareGivers History

Support for Direct Care/Service Workforce =
Good Care and Services for Iowans of All Ages and Abilities =
Quality of Life for ALL!

The Iowa CareGivers (IC), an independent nonprofit (501(c)(3)), was founded in 1992 by a former nurse aide in response to the growing concerns about the shortage and high turnover rates of those who work in direct care/service such as Certified Nurse Aides (CNAs) and Home Care Aides (HCAs). As massive numbers of Iowans reach retirement age over the next several years and the demand for more home and community-based supports is on the rise, the number of those available to fill these jobs is dwindling at alarming rates. Some have referred to these daunting circumstances as a Tsunami of Need with grave forecasts about the ability to meet people’s needs.

IC exists to support the direct care/service workforce so they, in turn, are there to support Iowans and their families during their times of need. It is built upon the guiding principles that a stable, well-educated, skilled, respected, and well-compensated direct care workforce is vital to the safety and well-being of all Iowans. IC also serves in a supportive role to employers of direct care workers, consumers, and their families.

Programs and services are tailored to paid and family caregivers and include statewide and regional educational conferences; newsletters, website, and other resources; mentor, leadership, and other training opportunities; recruitment resources; public awareness campaigns; recognition programs; and much more.

We promote public policies and practices that will ensure that 1) those in direct care/service receive high quality standardized education and skill training; opportunities to advance within the field of direct care/service; earn a wage that is consistent with the importance of the service they provide; have access to affordable health insurance; and receive the respect they deserve; and 2) Iowans of all ages and abilities have access to the services and care they need when and where they choose.


Unique Model and Independent Voice

Iowa CareGivers (IC) is the first of its kind in the country and has received national recognition as a “Best Practice” and unique model for addressing direct care workforce issues.  What sets IC apart from many is that it is an INDEPENDENT voice for the direct care/service workforce. It is able to stay true to its mission and those it serves because we are not owned by another organization, association, or agency.  See “What’s So Special” from those working in the field, family caregivers, and consumers.  Yet it has a reputation of working with various stakeholders in seeking solutions to complex workforce issues.  

What’s So Special About Those in Direct Care
What’s So Special About Iowa CareGivers


“Enhancing the quality of care by providing education, recognition, advocacy, and research in support of those who work in the field of direct care.”


Iowa CareGivers has three main goals:

  1. Ensure those in direct care/service have access to the education, skills, tools, and support needed to be prepared to serve the needs of Iowans of all ages and abilities.
  2. Ensure a stable direct care/service workforce by supporting job quality needed to attract people to the field and keep them in it.
  3. Ensure all Iowans have access to high quality care, supports, and services.



Direct Care/Service Workers Are Entitled To:

  • Have the opportunity to work in a supportive environment where they are able to deliver the high quality of care they want to provide.
  • Have their expertise sought and embraced in quality care decisions.
  • Have opportunities for personal and professional growth and development.
  • Be recognized as essential members of the health and long-term care team and be treated with respect by co-workers, supervisors, administrators, physicians, clients, families, and the public.
  • Earn a wage that reflects the importance and value of their skills, knowledge, and service, and have access to affordable health care coverage, retirement, and other benefits.
  • Be recognized as a profession, with distinct education and training criteria, professional standards, and competency requirements.
  • Have opportunities to network with peers, and in doing so, create a support system that fosters greater pride, commitment, responsibility, and dedication to their profession and jobs.
  • Have opportunities to speak on behalf of their profession and have their voices heard in policy making and in the community.


Who We Serve

Direct Care/Service Workforce: Assigned over 30 different titles, they include: Certified Nursing Assistants; Home Health/Care Aides; Homemaker Aides; Patient Care Technicians; Resident Assistants; Direct Support Professionals; Personal Care Attendants; Hospice Aides; Medication Aides; Resident Treatment Workers; Rehabilitation Aides; Adult Day Care Workers; Assisted Living Aides/Workers/Assistants; Job Coaches; Universal Workers; and Others.

  • Family Members/Family Caregivers
  • Individuals Served (Residents/Clients/Patients/Consumers)
  • Health and Long-term Service and Supports (LTSS) Employers and Supervisors
  • Business Community
  • Our Society as a Whole!



Iowa CareGivers (IC) is governed by a committed volunteer Board of Directors and Advocate Council, and guided by a statewide Direct Care Professional Leadership Council made up of those who work in the field.

Board of Directors
Direct Care Professional Leadership Council 

Impact: Steadfast Systemic Change

The Iowa CareGivers (IC) has a long history of success in impacting issues that affect those who work in direct care/service. Most notable is an impact timeline that portrays IC’s involvement at many levels in facilitating small, steadfast, and incremental steps that lead to lasting systemic changes.

Click here to view the infographic.


Funding comes in the form of state contracts, public, corporate, and private foundation grants, individual contributions, and program income.  In 2017 the Iowa CareGivers (IC) Board of Directors and its Advocate Council and Direct Care Professional Leadership Council established the Iowa CareGivers Endowment.  This fund will ensure the future and long-term impact of the organization.