The Department of Human Services temporarily changed some requirements for Parent Aware, Minnesota’s Quality Rating and Improvement System, providing flexibility for child care providers in meeting requirements and deadlines for applying for ratings during the COVID-19 peacetime emergency, and making Parent Aware coaching available online or over the phone, and training available online. Many of these requirements have been extended through December 31, 2021.
For more information, see the updated Frequently Asked Questions for child care providers or Frequently Asked Questions for school-based prekindergarten and Head Start programs and their child care partners. Questions about changes for child care providers can be emailed to DHS.firstname.lastname@example.org, and questions about changes for school-based prekindergarten and Head Start programs can be emailed to MDE.ELS@state.mn.us.
Starting July 1, 2020, Parent Aware Grant amounts will be tiered based on star ratings, and for the first time, programs earning four-star ratings will be eligible for the grants. In addition, programs applying to be re-rated in advance of their current rating expiration will only be eligible if they improve upon their current rating. Learn more about the Parent Aware Grant policy changes, what the new grant amounts will be and what led to the changes, in this Parent Aware Grant policy change overview (PDF) from the Minnesota Department of Human Services.
The Minnesota Legislature appropriated funding for many programs that support child care providers in the 2021 session. These appropriations were made possible through federal funding that came to Minnesota through the American Rescue Plan Act, and include:
$1.435 million to evaluate Parent Aware and conduct engagement needed for a report on equity.
The evaluation will examine Parent Aware’s effectiveness and impact on outcomes, including children’s progress toward school readiness and parents’ ability to access and use meaningful information about the quality of early care and education programs. The evaluation findings and the commissioner’s recommendations for revisions and potential future evaluations will be reported to legislature on or before December 31, 2024.
$304.398 million for the Child Care Stabilization Grant program. This program will provide direct payments to child care providers to help stabilize the child care market, and includes a provision requiring child care programs to use at least 70 percent of the base grant amount awarded to provide increased compensation, benefits or premium pay to employees.
$1.5 million for grants to community-based organizations working with family, friend and neighbor caregivers to promote healthy development, social-emotional learning, early literacy and school readiness.
$3 million to develop and begin to carry out a one-stop regional assistance network for child care providers and individuals interested in establishing or sustaining a licensed family child care or center-based child care setting.
$3 million for child care business training and consultation to help child care providers build, strengthen and acquire business skills.
$22.5 million for child care providers or facility improvements, minor renovations, and related equipment and services, including assistance meeting licensing requirements.
$200,000 for shared services innovation grants to help start shared services agreements and provide economies of scale for family child care businesses.
$3 million for workforce development grants to provide economically challenged individuals the jobs skills training, career counseling, and job placement assistance needed for a career path in child care.
$1 million for the Retaining Early Educators through Attaining Incentives Now (REETAIN) child care provider retention grant program, and codified this program into Minnesota law.
$2 million for the Teacher Education and Compensation Helps (TEACH) program for higher education scholarships. The legislature also made small changes to the authorizing language for this program.
$59,000 to form and establish the family child care training advisory committee, which will meet beginning in January 2022, and will expire in December 2025.
The Child Development Services unit will be working in the coming months to begin implementing programs related to this funding. Please look for future updates to learn more.
Reports and fact sheets from the Minnesota Department of Human Services about Parent Aware, Minnesota's Quality Rating and Improvement System:
Minnesota’s Knowledge and Competency Framework for Early Childhood Educators explains what those in the early childhood workforce should know and be able to do. A series of documents about the framework is available at Minnesota Department of Education's website.