[ST. PAUL, MN] – Today, Governor Tim Walz visited a child care center in St. Paul and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan visited a family child care provider in Rochester to announce their $56.6 million Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) proposal to help support Minnesota child care providers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The proposal provides grants to family child care providers, child care centers, and certain eligible certified centers to support the increased costs and decreased revenue due to COVID-19.
“Child care providers have stepped up to serve emergency workers and ensure families across Minnesota have a safe and reliable place to send their children,” said Governor Walz. “We will continue to support the critical work they do to educate our next generation, support families, and strengthen our economy.”
The pandemic has led to significant costs for child care providers due to smaller group sizes, cleaning, and other staffing and workflow changes to keep children healthy and safe. Additionally, child care access, especially for health care and other emergency workers, continues to be critical to the state’s public health response. It is estimated that 420,000 children are in households with one or two working parents in tier one and two critical sectors.
“Minnesota child care providers have gone above and beyond to support children and families during these unprecedented months,” said Lieutenant Governor Flanagan. “To meet the great need, and despite great challenges, providers have stayed open, including 90% of family providers. Our response to COVID-19 could not have happened without their support. They care for our littlest Minnesotans, and we should support them in return.”
Eligible providers will receive a grant paid out over three months to help address the cost of adhering to public health guidance during a time of decreased revenue. Family providers will receive up to $1,200 per month and licensed centers will receive up to $8,500 per month, scaled based on the number of eligible applicants. Eligibility requires:
- Providers to have been open and caring for children as of June 15 and through the duration of the three-month grant period
- Revenue losses or increased costs associated with COVID-19
- Providing financial incentives for working staff
- Having a license in good standing
These emergency grants follow a $40 million, with $30 million from the legislature, Peacetime Emergency Child Care Grants program that provided 5,400 awards over three months to ensure emergency worker access to child care during business closures. Child care provider needs have outpaced the dollars appropriated by more than three times. The Governor also advanced an additional $10 million from the Child Care and Development Block Grant into the third round of these grants. Additionally, Minnesota worked to allocate other resources from the $48.1 million from the Child Care and Development Block Grant fund at the Department of Human Services (DHS) to help increase access to support to reduce child care costs and provide flexibility for child care providers.
In addition to this proposal and the Peacetime Emergency Child Care Grants, the Walz-Flanagan Administration continues to support providers through ongoing communication with state and federal agency partners; tailored information on available financial supports; distribution of cleaning supplies, masks, and other critical care supplies needed for public health response; and support accessing food and other supplies.
The request for $56.6 million was submitted to the Legislative Advisory Commission for approval on July 1. Once funding is approved, DHS and the Children’s Cabinet will provide information about how childcare providers can apply for the grants. Families seeking care can call the Child Care Aware parent line at 1.888.291.9811 or visit mn.gov/childcare for a map of open providers.