Child care providers seek funds from budget surplus
The state enacted a “Child Care Stabilization Program” last year to help providers survive the pandemic with grants they could use to pay wages to employees and cover other expenses. It was a lifeline that allowed many centers to stay open.
“The child care industry was reaching a crisis prior to the pandemic,” said Amanda Schillinger, director of the Pumpkin Patch Child Care and Learning Center in Burnsville. “Something a lot of people aren’t aware of. We were teetering on the edge.”
Her center received grants to stay open in the face of a dramatic increase in expenses, from wages to supplies. Schillinger said the cost of sanitary gloves rose from $35 per case to $100 per case almost overnight.
“We had started experiencing staff shortages pre-pandemic,” Schillinger told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS before a rally at the state capitol. “It’s been exacerbated greatly with the pandemic. Operating costs have gone up just like everybody’s expenses are going up so do ours.”
She said that many child care providers might close without continuing the “Child Care Stabilization Act,” putting parents in a bind when trying to stay in their jobs or take on new jobs.
“The Child Care Stabilization Grants really help support programs during the pandemic, and I know for our program without those, I don’t know that we’d still be able to operate,” Schillinger stated.
Gov. Walz spoke at the State Capitol rally late Monday and voiced support for the funding and child care tax credits.