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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. Provider reimbursement rates remained unchanged. In 2016, we continued our work with the Kids Can’t Wait coalition, advocating to fully fund and forecast BSF and to raise CCAP provider reimbursement rates. While both Governor Dayton and the Senate recommended increased reimbursement rates for CCAP providers in their budgets, lawmakers did not include any changes to CCAP rates or funding in their final supplemental budget bill. CCAP will continue to be one of our top priorities in 2017 along with supporting important family-friendly changes to the program required under the federal Child Care Development Block Grant Reauthorization.
Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota supports strengthening the Child Assistance Program, including by fully funding Basic Sliding Fee and increasing provider reimbursement rates so that families can afford child care that meets their needs.