Legislative Task Force on Access to Affordable Child Care 2017

Executive Summary from the 2017 Report:

The Legislative Task Force on Access to Affordable Child Care was created by the 2016 Legislature to review the loss of child care providers in the state, assess affordability issues for parents and providers, and identify areas that need to be addressed by the Minnesota Legislature.

Over the course of four months, task force members worked with the Department of Human Services (DHS) and several stakeholders to gather information about Minnesota’s child care landscape—one with a rocky terrain of high costs for families; an ever-increasing shortage of providers that causes desperation in parents who seek to find care; and communities that are feeling the economic ripple effects caused by the shortage and high costs.

Co-chairs Senator Melissa Wiklund and Representative Mary Franson allowed ample time for public testimony at each meeting, often going far over schedule to hear from all who wished to speak. The task force received input from over 50 child care providers, child care organizations, parents, guardians, state and county officials, and concerned Minnesotans. The material gathered during public testimony, in conjunction with facts and figures about child care delivered during presentations, helped to inform and guide the final report recommendations.

Detailed recommendations for consideration by the 2017 Legislature and future governing bodies are located on pages 32-39. Summaries of public testimony are woven throughout the section. In short, the task force advises legislators, DHS, and counties to:

Regulatory

  • Develop consistency and uniformity in regulatory enforcement; improve relationships and communication between the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS), county licensors, and child care providers; and improve fairness in compliance measures.
  • Ensure training is accessible, relevant, and affordable; and broaden and deepen the trainer pool.

Affordability

  • Reform and invest in the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP).
  • Determine ways to address costs for middle income families, whether through targeted funding, tax policy, or community/business investments in child care.

Long-term Discussions

• Consider the creation of an independent board for child care providers.
• Encourage more people to enter and stay in the child care provider workforce.
• Consider ways to address emergency child care assistance for families fleeing abuse.

The full report can be found here.