Governor Mark Dayton and the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) today announced $519,000 in additional funding for the Minnesota Child Care Grant program. The grant program is designed to increase the supply of quality child care providers in communities statewide.

“Access to good and affordable child care is essential for all Minnesota families, and it's especially challenging in Greater Minnesota,” said Governor Dayton. “These grants will help hundreds more children receive the quality care they need, while allowing their parents to work and contribute to our state’s growing economy.”

A new report also released today by DEED finds that the grant program created 313 child slots and 54 child care jobs, while helping retain an additional 306 child care slots in 2017. The agency estimates that a total of 972 new child care slots will be created once all 2017 grant projects are completed.

“A lack of quality, affordable child care in Minnesota is a barrier to both economic development and workforce development,” said DEED Commissioner Shawntera Hardy. “Without quality child care, businesses in Greater Minnesota are not able to hire, and workers are not able to contribute to the workforce. These grants are a small but significant step toward helping to solve this problem.”

"These grants support our efforts statewide to encourage quality child care for more than 600,000 children and their families," said Human Services Commissioner Emily Piper. "We currently have a shortage of child care, particularly in Greater Minnesota, and these grants will help not only families who find peace of mind through quality child care, but providers who care for and guide children each day."

Governor Dayton worked with the Minnesota Legislature to secure $500,000 in grants to increase the supply of quality child care providers in 2016 in order to support regional economic development in Greater Minnesota communities. Last year, Governor Dayton collaborated with the Legislature to secure an additional $519,000 to fund statewide grant awards in 2018.

2018 Minnesota Child Care Grant Recipients

The communities receiving the grants will use a variety of approaches ranging from forgivable loans for child care start up to helping with licensing regulation. Recipients must match state funds on a dollar-for-dollar basis. The following organizations were awarded funding for 2018:

•First Children's Finance/Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, Minneapolis, Owatonna, $75,000

•Lower Sioux Indian Community, Morton, $90,000

•Northland Foundation, Duluth, $90,000

•Northwest Minnesota Foundation, Bemidji, $90,000

•Parenting Resource Center, Austin, $61,000

•Southwest Initiative Foundation, Hutchinson, $76,000

•West Central Initiative, Fergus Falls, $37,000

Need for Child Care in Greater Minnesota

The number of licensed family child care providers has decreased almost 30 percent since 2005. Census data from 2014 shows that approximately 310,000 children in Minnesota ages 0-5 have both parents or guardians in the workforce and likely need some form of child care. In 2015, licensed child care programs had the capacity to care for 224,000 children, leaving a gap in licensed capacity of approximately 86,000. This problem is particularly acute in Greater Minnesota, where there is less access to child care centers.

DEED is the state’s principal economic development agency, promoting business recruitment, expansion and retention, workforce development, international trade and community development.