Office of Governor Mark Dayton
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 4, 2018
Contact: Sam Fettig
Minnesota Children’s Cabinet to Expand Focus to Include Early Childhood Workforce Development and Housing for Children and Families
Governor Dayton also announced today that Kelly Monson will serve as the new Executive Director of the Minnesota Children’s Cabinet
The Cabinet focuses on ensuring all Minnesota children are healthy, safe, and prepared to achieve their full potential
ST. PAUL, MN – Following its success expanding access to early learning opportunities, home visiting, and the Help Me Grow system, Governor Mark Dayton’s Minnesota Children’s Cabinet today announced two additional focuses: early childhood workforce development and access to housing for children and their families. The Cabinet will review the causes of Minnesota’s early childhood workforce shortage and develop new pathways for workforce development, particularly in Greater Minnesota. In addition, the Cabinet will work to develop solutions to Minnesota’s affordable housing challenges, which can negatively affect children and their families.
Governor Dayton also announced that Kelly Monson will serve as the new Executive Director of the Minnesota Children’s Cabinet. Monson replaces St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter. Monson has more than two decades of experience in early childhood and family systems.
“Minnesota’s children need even more than great schools to be successful. They also need stable housing, nutritious food, and quality care,” said Governor Dayton. “Under the leadership of Executive Director Kelly Monson, I know that our expanded Children’s Cabinet will continue to strengthen families and improve the lives of children in Minnesota.”
In addition, Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Shawntera Hardy, Housing Finance Commissioner Mary Tingerthal, Transportation Commissioner Charles Zelle, and Metropolitan Council Chair Alene Tchourumoff will join the Governor’s Children’s Cabinet. The expansion reflects the consensus that young children must have a broad spectrum of needs met to ensure healthy development and future life success. The inclusion of the additional agencies in the Children’s Cabinet will improve coordination and streamline services for both children and their families.
Addressing Minnesota’s Child Workforce and Affordable Housing Shortages
The expansion of the Children’s Cabinet and the additional focuses come as the state continues to address challenges around access to quality child care and affordable housing. The number of licensed family child care providers has decreased almost 30 percent since 2005. This problem is particularly acute in Greater Minnesota, where there is less access to child care centers.
In addition, nearly 3,500 Minnesota children are homeless, while 167,000 households with children suffer from housing instability. Research shows that homeless and mobile children are more likely to be absent from school, perform worse on tests in math and reading achievement, and eventually drop out.
About the Minnesota Children’s Cabinet
In 2011, Governor Dayton created a first-of-its-kind Children’s Cabinet consisting of the Commissioners of Education, Human Services, and Health. The purpose of the Cabinet is to better coordinate policies, programs, and resources across agencies and communities to support improved outcomes for Minnesota’s children. The Cabinet is focused on ensuring all Minnesota kids are healthy, safe, supported, and prepared to achieve their full potential.
Since its creation, the Cabinet has led efforts to reform Minnesota’s early childhood system and expand Minnesota’s Help Me Grow system. It also has advanced policies around voluntary pre-Kindergarten, home visiting, health and wellbeing, and ensuring all Minnesota kids have access to the same foundational education opportunities. In addition, the Cabinet has worked to improve interagency communication and the coordination of services across state government.
About Children’s Cabinet Executive Director Kelly Monson
Prior to becoming Executive Director of the Children’s Cabinet, Kelly Monson served as the Manager of the Cabinet, the Help Me Grow System Coordinator at the Minnesota Department of Education, and the Policy & Systems Advisor at the Minnesota Department of Health.
Monson holds a master’s degree in Public Affairs from the University of Minnesota, a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Concordia University, and a bachelor’s degree in Child Development, with a minor in Early Childhood and Family Education. Monson also is a Minnesota licensed Pre-K and Family Educator.
A photo of Children’s Cabinet Executive Director Kelly Monson is available here.
Office of Governor Mark Dayton, Communications Department