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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.

Governor Walz signing a bill at a public school surrounded by excited children.

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.

healthy-beginnings

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 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.

Governor Walz talking with young students outside of a school.

Children’s Cabinet Advisory Council

  • Oluyinka Ajose – Blaine, MN
  • Catherine Chavers – Orr, MN
  • Angela Conley – Minneapolis, MN
  • Markus Flynn - Saint Paul, MN
  • Sidarth Gazula – Maple Grove, MN
  • Aisha Ibrahim – Eagan, MN
  • Brandon Jones – Woodbury, MN
  • Nicole Kern – Sartell, MN
  • Tiffany Kong – Saint Paul, MN
  • Sarah Moberg – Brooklyn Park, MN
  • Alisha Porter – Saint Paul, MN
  • Sheri Reimers – Saint Paul, MN
  • Rebecca Shlafer Nealy – Minnetonka, MN
  • Andrea Singh – Apple Valley, MN
  • Carrie Sparks – Rochester, MN

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

  • Shakira Bradshaw – Eagan, MN
  • Rachel Daley - Red Wing, MN
  • Jeanne Dickhausen – Minneapolis, MN
  • Barb Fabre – Ogema, MN
  • Claire Forbes - Minnetrista, MN
  • Representative Walter Hudson – Albertville, MN
  • Representative Dave Pinto – Saint Paul, MN
  • Tina Rucci - Minneapolis, MN
  • Sandra Simar – Rochester, MN 
  • Aaron Sojourner – Minneapolis, MN
  • Johanna Villa– Minneapolis, MN
  • Senator Melissa Wiklund – Bloomington, MN
  • Abby Zylstra – Willmar, MN
  • Member of the senate, appointed by the minority leader – vacant
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