Supporting working parents, children and businesses by ensuring access to affordable, high-quality childcare

(SF 1858 (Eaton) // HF 2364 (Moran) eliminates the waiting list for the Basic Sliding Fee program to serve all eligible families and increases reimbursement rates for child care providers participating in the Child Care Assistance Program

(HF 1880 (Winkler) // SF 1966 (Franzen) removes the $5,000 cap on early learning scholarships

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The Facts

  • Minnesota is a national leader in women’s workforce participation. While the number of working mothers has declined nationally in recent years, in Minnesota it has only increased. Workforce participation of mothers with children under six has increased the most – now at 79%.
  • Unstable and unaffordable child care has direct consequences for a women’s ability to get and keep a job and on the productivity of Minnesota businesses.  Disruptions in child care for working parents cost U.S. businesses approximately $3 billion each year, almost half of parents miss at least one day of work every six months due to a child care breakdown and more than half are late to work or leave work early due to child care issues.
  • Minnesota has the third highest accredited childcare costs in the country as a percent of median family income. Only 14% of Minnesota families at or below 200% of the federal poverty line (about $36,000 for a family of three) receive state help with these expenses.
  • The number of families on waiting lists for Minnesota basic sliding fee childcare assistance has increased by 83% (Rising from 4,092 in 2010 to 7,491 in 2013). Minnesota’s new early learning scholarships given to 3-4 year-olds in families with income at or below 185% of the federal poverty level are only reaching  8-9% of eligible children and scholarships may not be getting to the all communities equally.
  • The percentage of childcare provider costs that the state reimburses for children in assistance programs dropped from 56-68% to around 25% over the last decade, resulting in centers serving the very highest risk children (those below 200% of the federal poverty rate) losing money and their ability to accept low income children. These low reimbursement rates also contribute to low wages for the state’s childcare workers who earn less than $10 an hour on average.
  • Findings from neuroscience show that human capacity development throughout the lifespan largely hinges on the quality of care children receive early on.  “The type of child care settings or home environments where young children spend their days— and who they spend them with—has a profound impact on how their brain develops.”
  • Nearly 50% of Minnesota children arrive at kindergarten without the skills they need to be successful in school, with higher rates in some communities of color.  Attendance in high quality early learning settings is proven to substantially increase the number of children who start school ready to succeed.
  • A national survey conducted for The Shriver Report in late 2013 found that nearly 80 percent of all Americans say the government should expand access to high-quality, affordable child care.