State to announce $6 million in grants to help fund child care programs

Walz to announce grants for child care on Wednesday

A total of $6 million in new grants are expected to be announced Wednesday afternoon.

State funding is on the way to help families expand the options they have for child care providers.

According to Gov. Tim Walz’s office, $6 million funding from the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) is expected to open up more than 2,200 child care positions. However, it isn’t immediately clear how that money will be distributed.

A formal announcement regarding the funding is expected to be made at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday in Minnetonka.

Earlier this week, providers held a “Day Without Child Care” rally at the Capitol. There is a statewide issue, but it’s especially problematic for those in more rural areas.

On Minnesota’s Iron Range, five centers serving more than 700 children have shut their doors, and some of those providers traveled to St. Paul to highlight the limited options for families.

Iron Range providers say there are only two child care centers left open in their area – and they have two-year-long waiting lists.

“We need child care to be treated as the public good that it is, and we need to be supported with sustainable and permanent public funding,” said Shantel Gruba, the owner of Iron Range Tykes Learning Center.

“What we see in greater and rural Minnesota, is that it’s not just child care affordability – although that is very critical – it’s about availability,” said Senator Grant Hauschild (DFL-Hermantown).

Check back for updates.