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Updated: 11/24/2011 10:26 PM
Created: 11/24/2011 12:52 PM | Print |  Email
By: Mark Albert

Budget-Balancing Childcare Cuts Begin Monday

Childcare providers who take care of some of the state's poorest children will see a cut in their reimbursement rates beginning Monday, part of the deal that balanced the state's massive budget deficit this summer but now threatens to harm the level and quality of care available, providers say.

"We lose about $500 a week," said Nicole Frethem, director of the Lexington Kids Christian Childcare center in St. Paul.

Frethem estimates her center will lose $26,000 this year because, she says, state reimbursement rates in the Childcare Assistance Program do not keep pace with the true costs of caring for children. And that is before a 2.5 percent cut to reimbursement rates and an additional 2.5 percent cut to registration fees take effect Monday, Nov. 28, 2011.

The $20 million in cuts to the $428 million assistance program do not change eligibility rules for the 33,749 children in the program on an average month. Parents qualify for the state-funded care so that they can work, go to school, or look for a job.

"We're sorry," Rep. Jim Abeler (R-Anoka), the chairman of the House Health and Human Services committee that helped negotiate the cuts, said during an interview with 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS.

"The problem is, we've made promises we can't keep with money we didn't have. And so push has come to shove," Abeler said. 

Watch our story above or learn more below:


-Click here to see a summary of the cuts to Childcare Assistance, as outlined in a memo from the MN Dept. of Human Services to counties and providers.

-Click here to see the new rates for CCAP that take effect Monday, Nov. 28, 2011.

-Watch an extended interview with Nicole Frethem, director of Lexington Kids Christian Childcare, talking about the cost to her center of accepting children in the state's CCAP system and why she cares for the kids, even at a financial loss.

-Watch an extended interview with Rep. Jim Abeler (R-Anoka), chairman of the House Health and Human Services committee talking about the cuts to CCAP.

-Watch our investigation into the state's overpayment of millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded childcare.

-Click here to see the Minnesota Childcare Assistance Program at a glance.

-Click here to go to the home page of the Minnesota Childcare Assistance Program.

-Click here to read the changes to the Health and Human Services funding bill that were passed in the July 2011 special session of the Legislature.