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Minnesota's Children's Cabinet

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Minnesota’s Children’s Cabinet is an interagency partnership the Governor has charged with helping make Minnesota the best place for each and every child to grow up. 

While Minnesota is ranked as a top state to live and work, this is not true for too many children and families with children of color, indigenous children, and children in Greater Minnesota facing an opportunity gap that threatens our overall competitiveness as a state. Minnesota’s Children’s Cabinet works to ensure Minnesota is the top place to live for all children, no matter their race or zip code. 

For COVID resources related to child care, families, and other resources please visit mn.gov/childcare. Additional resources for Minnesotans available on mn.gov/covid19 and staysafemn.gov.

About

Minnesota’s Children’s Cabinet is a broad interagency partnership that utilizes a whole family approach to support the healthy development of children and families. The Children’s Cabinet works to bring efficiency and effectiveness to state government efforts to improve child and youth outcomes. The work of the Cabinet can also involve collaboration with counties, local communities and other stakeholders. 

Governor Walz and Lt. Governor Flanagan re-launched their Children’s Cabinet under Executive Order 19-34 charging their Administration to Place Children At the Center of Government. The Cabinet works to take data-driven and results-oriented approach to coordinating, streamlining programs, aligning strategies, and promoting action and accountability of Minnesota’s efforts to ensure that each and every Minnesota child, no matter race or zip code, is prepared to be a leader of tomorrow. 

More than thirty states have Children’s Cabinets, to function as broad interagency convener, foster collaboration, and align resources around children. The goal of Children’s Cabinets is to bring efficiency and effectiveness to state government efforts to improve child and youth outcomes. Minnesota’s Children’s Cabinet was established via statute in 1993 (Statute 4.045). It was a recommendation in a 1992 report called Kids Can’t Wait, which highlighted the need for a more focused, cross agency prioritization of children and specifically lifted up the disparities experienced by children of color.

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Strategies

The Cabinet works to center government decision-making on children and families and make recommendations on how to improve our systems collectively. By aligning strategies, programs and services, the Cabinet seeks to create a more efficient and effective government. The Cabinet examines programs, policies and practices to ensure that we promote equity for all children and do not deepen the disparities experienced by children of color, indigenous children, and children in greater Minnesota.

The Children’s Cabinet focuses on a broad range of issues and challenges, informed by children, family and community priorities. The Cabinet will utilize a results-based accountability lens in these priority areas:

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Children's Cabinet Composition

The Children’s Cabinet is co-chaired by the Governor and Lieutenant Governor. Per statute, the Commissioners of the following agencies participate: Department of Administration; Department of Corrections; Department of Education; Department of Employment and Economic Development; Department of Health; Minnesota Housing Finance Agency; Department of Human Services; Department of Management and Budget; Department of Public Safety; and Department of Transportation. 

To fulfill the mission of placing children at the center of government, the Governor asked the following agencies to also participate in the work of the Children’s Cabinet: Department of Agriculture; Department of Commerce; Office of Higher Education; Department of Human Rights; Department of Labor & Industry; Met Council; Department of Military Affairs; Minnesota IT Services; Department of Natural Resources; Department of Revenue; Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board; and Pollution Control Agency. 

A senior leadership team consisting of cross-agency staff comprised of agency leadership from all participating agencies, designated by the Commissioners, also participates in the work. The staffing and administrative support for the Children’s Cabinet is provided by Minnesota Management and Budget.

Outcomes and Initiatives

Community Engagement

The Children’s Cabinet prioritizes engagement with children, families, local governments, tribes, and communities for learning, accountability, and action in ensuring the systems serving children and families provide what is needed for each and every child to thrive. Minnesota’s rich history of public-private collaboration is also a powerful tool to help address the needs of Minnesota’s children. Meaningful public-private collaboration can play an important role in ensuring that best practices are utilized, community voices are heard and responded to, and private sector resources are maximally leveraged.

One of the primary ways this is achieved is through engagement with external advisory bodies, including a Children’s Cabinet Advisory Council and the State Advisory for Early Education and Care. These external bodies, made up of individuals with the perspective of youth and families, diverse and underrepresented communities, and tribal and county leadership, provide recommendations and guidance to the Children’s Cabinet.

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Children’s Cabinet Advisory Council

  • Salma Abdi – Rochester, MN
  • Toni Carter – Saint Paul, MN
  • Kelvin Currington – Brooklyn Center, MN
  • Jazzy Eubanks – Brooklyn Park, MN
  • Fanny Fernandez – White Bear Lake, MN
  • Megan Gunnar Dahlberg – Roseville, MN
  • Lynn Haglin – Duluth, MN
  • Keenan Jones – Maple Grove, MN
  • Nicole Kern – Sartell, MN
  • Patina Park – Minneapolis, MN
  • Rebecca Shlafer – Minnetonka, MN
  • Andrea Singh – Apple Valley, MN
  • Carrie Sparks - Rochester, MN
  • Leroy Staples Fairbanks – Cass Lake, MN
  • Vacant

State Advisory Council on Early Childhood Education and Care (Minnesota Statutes 124D.141)

  • Senator Roger Chamberlain - Lino Lakes, MN
  • Laurie Coleman – Erskine, MN
  • Jeanne Dickhausen - Head Start Collaboration Director
  • Barb Fabre – Ogema, MN
  • Karen Fogg - Commissioner of Health Designee
  • Anna Gruber – Staples, MN 
  • Daniel Gumnit – Lauderdale, MN
  • Dianne Haulcy – Saint Paul, MN
  • Member of the house of representatives, appointed by the minority leader - vacant
  • Michelle Keleny – Roseville, MN 
  • Jennifer Mueller – Monticello, MN
  • Representative Dave Pinto - Saint Paul, MN
  • Aaron Sojourner – Minneapolis, MN
  • Jodi Wambeke – Sunburg, MN
  • Senator Melissa Wiklund - Bloomington, MN
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