New $300M program to support child care providers, improve child care access for families announced

On Wednesday, Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan announced that Minnesota child care providers have begun applying for monthly direct payments to stabilize their businesses as part of a $300 million state grant program that will last through June 2023.

Funding from the federal American Rescue Plan and parameters established by the Minnesota Legislature, along with stabilization grants, will enable child care providers to boost pay and benefits for their workers as Minnesota’s economy continues to recover.

"Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, child care providers have stepped up to ensure that Minnesota families have a safe and reliable place to send their children — despite challenges like low enrollment and higher operational costs," Walz said in a statement. "These grants will be critical in supporting our child care providers and ensuring that child care continues to be available to communities across the state."

The Child Care Stabilization Grant program will continue through June 2023, with the grants diminishing in the program’s final year. The grants are part of a $563 million effort to bolster the state’s child care market, primarily with funding from the American Rescue Plan.

According to the governor’s office, another key change starts in November. The state will raise reimbursement rates for the Child Care Assistance program. The program currently serves more than 30,000 children each month, supporting 15,000 low-income families to access child care while they work or go to school. Additional stimulus fund investments in Child Care Assistance totaling $55 million are estimated to reach 4,000 more children during the next three years.

The Minnesota Department of Human Services also plans to offer stabilization grants for child care providers experiencing extreme financial hardships. DHS awarded transition grants to eligible child care providers this summer and is developing a range of technical assistance and professional development opportunities for child care providers.

To be eligible for child care stabilization grants, child care programs must be licensed, certified or registered in good standing with DHS. Eligible providers will receive an email each month with a personalized application link.

For more information about the Child Care Stabilization Grant program, click here.