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Minnesota provides subsidies through the Child Care Assistance Program to low-income, working families with children birth to 13. However, funding for the Basic Sliding Fee component of the Child Care Assistance Program has decreased by 28 percent (adjusted for inflation) over the past decade, leaving thousands of families on the program wait list. Child care provider reimbursement rates have eroded, too. Only a third of provider rates statewide are covered in full by CCAP reimbursements, forcing many providers to absorb the difference or pass it on to families.
In 2015, for the first time in more than ten years, the state legislature appropriated additional funding for Basic Sliding Fee, providing $10 million (FY 16-17) to reduce the wait list, an investment estimated to fund 350 program slots. In 2017, as part of our work with the Kids Can't Wait coalition, we supported legislation to implement the family-friendly changes required under the federal Child Care and Development Block Grant, along with additional funding to serve more families and raise the provider reimbursement rate. Lawmakers passed a portion of the family-friendly changes in allowing most families to stay enrolled in CCAP for 12 months at a time instead of six, even in the case of minor changes in parent schedule or income.
Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota supports strengthening the Child Assistance Program, including by fully funding Basic Sliding Fee so that every eligible family can access it, increasing provider reimbursement rates so that families can afford child care that meets their needs, and implementing family-friendly policies to improve the child care experience for children and their parents.