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Walz announces $2.5 million additional funding for affordable child care

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Walz announces $2.5 million additional funding for affordable child care

Dec 01, 2022 | 2:14 pm ET
By Michelle Griffith
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Walz announces $2.5 million additional funding for affordable child care
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Gov. Tim Walz met with child care provides at CLUES in St. Paul on Thursday, Dec. 1. Photo by Michelle Griffith/Minnesota Reformer.

Gov. Tim Walz on Thursday announced his administration is awarding nearly $2.5 million to 17 child care organizations across Minnesota to bolster child care availability statewide.

The grants announced Thursday will create about 2,700 new child care slots in the state — a mere fraction of the approximately 80,000 to 90,000 slots needed statewide.

Minnesota, even before the COVID-19 pandemic, has long been plagued by a lack of affordable child care. This has hindered Minnesota’s workforce, as many caregivers and parents are forced to forgo work because of hefty child care costs.

In 2021, the average rate for child care centers in Minnesota ranged from $330 per week for an infant to $227 per week for a school-age child, according to the advocacy group Child Care Aware. 

“In every community across the state, we hear from families and small businesses that increasing access to affordable child care is the best way to support our workforce, grow our economy and foster economic prosperity,” Walz said.

Walz, Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Steve Grove and Department of Human Services Commissioner and Jodi Harpstead met Thursday at St. Paul’s Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio (CLUES), one of the recent grant recipients.

The child care grant program — administered by DEED — funds child care business startups, training, facility improvements, incentives to retain employees and assistance with regulatory compliance.

Walz said funding child care will be a top priority for his administration, especially since Minnesota has a $9 billion surplus.

“We’re at a very unique and opportune time to be able to address this,” Walz said.