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Saturday, January 28, 2023

Walz announces new affordable child care funding

Given that child care in Minnesota is already among the most costly in the country, Governor Tim Walz has announced a new round of funds for daycare centers around the state.

Nearly $2.5 million is being distributed to 17 Minnesota non-profits that provide child care under a grant program run by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. According to a press release issued by the Walz administration on Thursday, the money would be used for things like additional childcare facilities, training, licensing, and collaborations with local companies.

Walz said Thursday that boosting access to affordable child care is the greatest approach to assist the state’s workforce, build the economy, and promote prosperity. Grants like this help children and families all around Minnesota get the support they need.

According to 2019 research by the Economic Policy Institute, the annual cost of baby care in Minnesota is around $16,087, or $1,341 per month. Minnesota has often led national rankings of the most costly states in which to find child care, and in that year it rated fourth costliest overall.

The Center for Rural Policy and Development reported that the number of daycare vacancies in Greater Minnesota declined by almost 20,000 between 2000 and 2020, with the reduction of family-based childcare being a major contributor to this trend.

According to state authorities, they prioritized areas where there was a dearth of childcare workers. Disparities in the availability of low-cost child care may be one cause of this problem, especially for minorities and individuals with disabilities.

An important aspect of the administration’s economic policy is expanding access to high-quality child care, as stated by DEED Commissioner Steve Grove. Since COVID-19 halted most of the economy in the spring of 2020, companies in Minnesota and around the United States have had trouble finding and keeping qualified workers.

Walz and Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan suggested a $5 billion increase to child care, schools, and family leaves programs before of the 2022 legislative session. As of that time, Democratic legislators indicated they shared the governor’s aims, but their sweeping plan went nowhere. Now that the Democrats control all branches of state government, childcare legislation may be advanced when legislators return in January.

According to the governor’s office, more than 9,000 additional childcare opportunities have been created throughout Minnesota thanks to grants totaling more than $4 million provided by the state’s economic development agency since 2017.

Cedric Blackwater
Cedric Blackwater
Cedric is a journalist with over a decade of experience reporting on local US news, and touching on many global topics. He is currently the lead writer for Bulletin News.

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