What happened in the 2019 Legislative Session?
The final budget agreed to by Governor Tim Walz and the Minnesota Legislature includes important steps to bring child care assistance in Minnesota up to federal standards, which will make child care assistance work better for families experiencing homelessness and ensure families moving to another county don't lose their assistance.
Governor Tim Walz’s budget proposal for FY 2020-21 and the House's Health and Human Services budget included large investments in affordable child care that would have boosted funding so more families could participate and reduce waiting lists, and brought provider reimbursement rates closer to market rates. Unfortunately, none of these were included in the final budget agreement, representing a significant lost opportunity and unfinished business that policymakers will need to address in future years.
What's at stake?
When families have affordable child care, parents can succeed in the workplace; kids can develop, play, and thrive in safe and stable environments; and employers can find and retain the workers they need.
Too many parents cannot find stable child care that meets their family’s needs. In Minnesota, the average cost of enrolling an infant in a child care center is $310 per week – that’s $16,120 per year.
Families of color and families living in certain regions of the state feel the pressure most. Not only is care expensive, but finding care that reflects cultural values or languages can be exceptionally challenging. Minnesota has over 222,000 child care spaces, but over 300,000 kids under age 6 who might need a child care spot.