Minnesota nets $135M in federal child care funding

The state of Minnesota has received new federal funding to help support child care providers and improve access for low-income families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gov. Tim Walz’s office said Thursday that the state received $135 million from the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act that was passed in December, which is in addition to the $48 million the state previously received for child care relief.

"The child care industry has been essential to our COVID-19 response and it will help drive our economic recovery forward," Walz said. "This funding will go directly to child care providers and working families to ease the hardships they’ve faced over the last year. I’m grateful to our federal partners for helping us support this critical industry."

The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) said the funding will be allocated to prioritize access for low-income families, support the child care industry, build a strong and more equitable system, and ensure the process to access funding isn’t too burdensome. The breakdown will be as follows:

  • $87 million to continue the COVID-19 Public Health Support Funds program through May.
  • $35 million for the Basic Sliding Fee Child Care Assistance Program over calendar years 2021, 2022 and 2023 to serve more of the families on child care waiting lists.
  • $5 million to help child care programs build sustainability, reopen or start up through consultation, business supports, grants and loans.
  • $5 million for family support initiatives over the next six to 12 months with the help of stakeholders to identify emerging needs.
  • $3 million to support and increase access to family, friend and neighbor caregivers.

"This additional much-needed funding will be used to improve access to child care, especially for families with low incomes," DHS Commissioner Jodi Harpstead said. "It also will help support child care providers, who are essential to Minnesota’s pandemic response and economic recovery."

More information can be found online.