The American Rescue Plan Act was signed into law in March 2021, and it provided Minnesota with additional funds to stabilize the child care industry during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the end of June 2021, Minnesota's Legislature created Minnesota’s Child Care Stabilization Grant Program, which began in June 2021 and will last until June 2023. The Child Care Stabilization Grant Program includes:
Transition Grants from June 2021 through July 2021 (finished),
Base Grants from September 2021 through June 2023 (active), and
Financial Hardship Grants from January 2022 (active) through whenever the funds for this grant are gone.
Family, Friend and Neighbor (FFN) child care providers offer legal unlicensed child care to many families. FFN providers are a frequent choice of care for parents with infants and toddlers, parents in diverse cultural and ethnic communities, and parents working non-standard hour jobs. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, FFN providers have been a critical source of support for families’ child care needs. The state of Minnesota recognized the need to support FFN providers as vital contributors to the state’s early care and education infrastructure, directing $1 million in federal CARES Act funds to local agencies working with FFN providers.
Starting in July 2022, community organizations across the state will receive $2.9 million in order to provide training and support to friends, grandparents, and neighbors who provide child care for the youngest Minnesotans. To see what support is available in your area, including contact information, view the FFN Grantee Location Map below.
Parent Aware is Minnesota’s quality rating and improvement system for child care and early education programs. As part of the Minnesota Department of Human Services' ongoing efforts to promote equity and ensure children receive the best care, we are working with key partners to redesign the program. The Parent Aware Redesign includes multiple projects that center best practices and racial, cultural, linguistic, ability and geographic equity. This multi-year effort will be informed by significant community engagement.
Parent Aware recognizes and rewards child care providers for using school readiness best practices by offering a four-star rating scale that is posted on ParentAware.org. Providers can learn more about this program by calling 888-291-9811 or visiting ParentAware.org.
Child care providers can connect with staff or attend an event to learn more about Parent Aware at Your Support Team webpage.
Child care providers can apply online for Parent Aware at Developtoolmn.org, Minnesota's Quality Improvement and Registry Tool.
Provides high quality professional development resources for child care and early education professionals across Minnesota. These include training, coaching, consultation and financial support to attain credentials and degrees. To register for courses visit Develop, The Minnesota Quality Improvement & Registry Tool and/or Eager-to-Learn, where online classes are offered through Child Care Aware of Minnesota.
Helps families find the quality care and education their children need to succeed in school and life. Parent Aware rates Minnesota programs on a scale of One- to Four-Stars, allowing families to easily identify the programs using research-based best practices for successful learners. Visit ParentAware.org for information on rated programs and earning Parent Aware ratings.
The Center for Inclusive Child Care (CICC) provides free relationship-based professional development (RBPD) including support, modeling and resources to child care programs throughout Minnesota. A coach will partner with your program to provide support focused on the successful inclusion of children with special needs or challenging behaviors, implementing health and safety best practices and/or supporting the unique needs of infants and toddlers in your care. For more information, visit CICC's webpage, email CICC at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 651/603-6265 for more information.
The Child Care Assistance Program can pay a higher rate for children with special needs if children require higher levels of care for their age due to a physical, behavioral or medical disability. The disability must be documented, and the provider must explain why the child needs a higher than normal level of care, what their extra costs are and what steps they have taken to meet those needs. To ask for a special needs rate for an individual child, the parent and provider must complete the CCAP Special Needs Rate Variance Request DHS-4194 (PDF), include proof of the child's special needs due to disability and submit the form to the child's case worker.
Guide to Creating Inclusive Child Care Spaces
There are easy steps and resources child care providers and early educators can take to make their spaces more inclusive to children with disabilities. Creating Inclusive Child Care Spaces is a guide to help providers think more inclusively about children with disabilities, and provides easy to access steps and free resources to improve care for children with disabilities. Creating inclusive spaces is especially important for children with disabilities, whose families often struggle to find care who meet their needs. As an educator you can positively impact these families and grow your business by providing quality child care. Learn more by reading the guide.