As part of their COVID-19 Response Supplemental Budget proposal, Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan proposed $30 million in funding for emergency grants for licensed child care providers serving essential workers during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Child care providers and educators themselves are expressly listed as essential.
There are approximately 420,000 children under the age of 12 who live in a household of an essential worker within a critical sector. Of these, the state estimates that, during this peacetime emergency, about 270,000 children will need care, and approximately 120,000 are likely to need and use licensed child care settings. Child care providers play a key role in enabling emergency and essential personnel to go to work.
The child care sector operates on small margins and has experienced financial strains prior to the emergence of COVID-19. These financial challenges are intensifying as revenue decreases with the governor’s Stay at Home Executive Order. On March 26, 2020, the Minnesota Legislature passed the governor’s proposal, and Gov. Walz signed it into law on March 28, 2020.
The Department of Human Services, Governor’s Children’s Cabinet, and Child Care Aware of Minnesota are working together to distribute these funds.
The following child care program types are eligible to apply for a grant:
- Family and group family licensed under Minnesota Rules, chapter 9502
- Child care centers licensed under Minnesota Rules, chapter 9503; and
- Tribally licensed child care programs
Programs must also meet the following eligibility requirements:
- Have a license in good standing
- May not be operating on a conditional license, under revocation, or under temporary immediate suspension
- May not be the subject of a finding of fraud
- May not be prohibited from receiving public funds under MN Statute 245.095, which requires that any provider, vendor, or individual be excluded from receiving grant funds if excluded from another DHS program