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PHOTOS: Governor Walz, Lieutenant Governor Flanagan Urge Legislative Action to Support Child Care Providers, Working Families

[ST. PAUL, MN] – Today, Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan called for swift legislative action to support Minnesota’s child care providers and working families. Speaking at the Wilder Child Development Center in Saint Paul, the Governor and Lieutenant Governor stressed the urgency and importance of passing an ongoing Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) rate increase this session.

“The success of our state starts with the success of our littlest Minnesotans. But throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Minnesota’s working families were hit hard,” said Governor Walz. “Minnesota’s COVID-19 Recovery Budget ensures that those who have been most impacted by the pandemic have the resources they need to survive, including child care assistance. Investing in our state’s Child Care Assistance Program increases access to affordable, quality child care and reduces out-of-pocket costs for families. This investment supports both our littlest learners and our small businesses across the state.”

“In Minnesota, our children deserve to be loved and have their development supported, and parents deserve the peace of mind knowing their child is being cared for while they provide for their families. Since we took office, the Governor and I have been committed to supporting access to child care. This year has made the need and sense of urgency even clearer,” said Lieutenant Governor Flanagan. “Child care providers are the backbone of our economy. They are the workforce behind our workforce. Increasing Child Care Assistance Program rates provides financial relief to providers, an industry necessary for our economy to get back on track, and it supports our hard-working families and our children’s development in their earliest, formative years.”

CCAP provides financial assistance to help families with low incomes pay for child care so parents may pursue employment or education leading to employment and children are well cared for and prepared to enter school. 4,500 providers across Minnesota are registered for CCAP, and nearly half of those are family child care providers. CCAP primarily supports child care access and family economic stability for BIPOC children; nearly three-quarters of children served by the program are BIPOC and more than half of children served by CCAP in 2020 were Black or African American.

Minnesota’s COVID-19 Recovery Budget, the Governor’s biennial budget recommendation, includes a proposal to increase CCAP rates that is almost entirely paid for with available federal resources. The budget proposal includes CCAP investments of $47.5 million from the federal Child Care Development Fund and $12,000 from the General Fund (for technology implementation) in the 2022-2023 biennium. This proposal will update maximum rates for child care providers from the 25th to the 30th percentile of the most recent market rate survey. This change increases access to child care and reduces out-of-pocket costs for families, with maximum CCAP rates covering prices charged by almost one-third of child care providers, and aligns rates with the new market rate survey in compliance with federal regulations for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG). If the legislature doesn’t act to increase rates this session, the state could be subject to a penalty federal CCDBG reduction for being out of compliance with federal law on child care access.

Helping working families recover from the COVID-19 pandemic has been one of the Governor’s budget priorities from the beginning of the legislative session. In January, Governor Walz announced Minnesota’s COVID-19 Recovery Budget – his budget proposal for the next biennium. As Minnesota continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Walz’s budget supports working families, ensures students continue catch up on learning, and helps small businesses stay afloat while driving economic recovery.