How President Biden’s Agenda Can Help Eliminate Child Care Dilemma Across Minnesota
Minnesota daycare owner Liz Harris: “If you want a stable economy that is strong, you have to have child care.”
The past year has been devastating for Minnesota’s working families, as child care options became even more unaffordable and enrollment decreased. While Minnesota received $325 million in federal funding from President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan to support the state’s child care industry amid the pandemic, more must be done — and Democrats in Washington have introduced two historic plans that would invest millions more in Minnesota’s children and families.
“It’s far past time for congressional Republicans to join Democrats and a majority of Americans — including Republican voters — in delivering this once-in-a-century opportunity for hard-working Minnesotans by passing both the American Families Plan and the American Jobs Plan,” said Minnesota DFL Chairman Ken Martin. “The GOP should stop playing partisan politics with our children’s future and support common-sense policies that support Minnesota’s working families.”
Recent reporting from Kare 11 shows the dire need to address the lack of affordable and accessible child care options across the country. As it stands, the average annual cost of a child care center for a toddler in Minnesota is $14,100, meaning that a two-parent household would on average need to spend 13 percent of their income on care for one child every year. The American Families Plan will enable low and middle-income families to pay no more than 7 percent of their income on high-quality child care, generating lifetime benefits for 159,000 children under 5 in Minnesota and helping working families make ends meet.
There is also an estimated $818 million gap in what schools need to do maintenance and make improvements and 26 percent of residents live in a child care desert. The American Jobs Plan will modernize our nation’s schools and early learning facilities and build new ones in neighborhoods across Minnesota and the country.
Here’s more from Kare 11 on how the pandemic has impacted Minnesota’s child care industry:
By Jennifer Austin // Kare 11
- “Like many industries, Minnesota daycares were hit hard by the pandemic. Some parents chose to pull their children when the virus hit. Some made the call over health concerns, others didn’t need the care as they were working from home.”
- “A recent survey of 781 Minnesota providers by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis and First Children’s Finance found 62% of the Twin Cities providers polled saw enrollment decrease during the pandemic. Statewide, 14% of respondents reported they closed temporarily at least once, and 23% said they used high-interest financing to get by. “
- Suzanne Pearl, Minnesota director of First Children’s Finance…says overall the industry remained intact during the pandemic, despite fears earlier on that many providers would close due to a lack of enrollment and ensuing financial struggles. Pearl says government aid given to daycares because of the pandemic likely helped sustain them.
- “The federal government has given Minnesota $325 million, part of the American Rescue Plan Act, to help stabilize the state’s child care industry. State lawmakers are still negotiating exactly how that money will be used.”
- “‘[The industry is] parent funded and that can be a major issue when there’s a pandemic,” she said. Harris says she wants to see businesses work with the government to create solutions to the state’s child care issue. She says even though she’s closing her daycare, she plans to continue to advocate for the industry and try to recruit more providers. ‘If you want a stable economy that is strong, you have to have child care,” she said.”