Much is at stake in the remaining five days of the legislative session.
We urge legislators and Gov. Tim Walz to pass a bonding bill that contains $10 million for grants to help build or expand child-care facilities in greater Minnesota. We also ask to pass a jobs bill that contains funds to be distributed between the six Minnesota Initiative Foundations for child care business development and provider training.
According to 2014 U.S. Census Bureau estimates, 74 percent of Minnesota households with children under the age of 6 have both parents in the workforce, but with 15,000 child care spots lost in greater Minnesota between 2006 and 2015, it is often a challenge for these parents to find child care.
Even in our own community, there are waiting lists to get children into places such as Children’s Corner Learning Center as well as in-home providers. This makes it a struggle for parents who need to work to support their families but who can’t find someone to watch their children while they do so.
How do we bridge that gap?
With many in-home day-care providers getting older and fewer new providers opening their doors because of regulations and costs, we need incentives for people to open new in-home facilities as well as provide them with the training to do so.
For nonprofit child care facilities to expand, there needs to be funding in place to make that a reality.
We hope legislators realize the importance of this issue in rural Minnesota, not only for the well-being of families, but also the well-being of communities. Businesses are already struggling to find workers, so adding this on top makes it even more challenging.
While this money will not be the answer in entirety for the child-care crisis, it will be the start of providing more opportunities in several communities.