ST. PAUL, MN (STL.News) Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan today announced a $53.3 million investment available now to support child care providers and protect Minnesota families’ access to child care during the COVID-19 pandemic. This critical investment will be funded with federal dollars through the Coronavirus Relief Fund, which was authorized by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. In total during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Administration has invested approximately $188 million to help support child care needs for families.
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, child care providers have stepped up to ensure that families across the state have a safe and reliable place to send their children,” said Governor Walz. “Child care staff are heroes and we will continue to work hard to respond to their needs as they support Minnesota families. Our historic investments have ensured continued access as other states have seen more widespread closures, yet we know more will continue to be needed and hope Congress will act with more relief.”
The Lieutenant Governor visited MacDonald Montessori in Saint Paul today, a program that has benefitted from state funding, to highlight the success of the state’s historic investments and the continued need for child care funding.
“Now more than ever, our littlest Minnesotans need stability and nurturing, and that’s exactly what our child care providers give every single day,” said Lieutenant Governor Flanagan. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s become even more clear that child care businesses and workers are the backbone of our economy – they’re the workforce behind our workforce.”
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, child care centers and family child care providers are experiencing increased costs due to public health guidance, cleaning, and smaller classrooms, and significant lost tuition revenue with decreases in enrollment. The funding must be used to help meet these costs and support staff working in-person.
The initial investment of $56.6 million in July provided funding to 7,013 child care providers across the state. The second investment of $53.3 million was approved by the Legislative Advisory Commission on September 29 and extends the previous package, adding additional cost considerations for school-age care needs of families in distance and hybrid learning. The funding will support open licensed family child care providers, child care centers, and certain eligible certified centers that are open and serving children. Family providers will receive up to $1,200 per month and licensed centers will receive up to $8,500 per month. Certified Centers will receive approximately $3,000 per month. Payment amounts may be scaled based on the number of eligible applicants and certified center payments could increase if funding is available. The application period for funding opened for providers on October 4 and will close on October 14.