Child Care

Child care is a two-generation approach to family economic security. Working parents need reliable child care in order to work and provide for their families, and when families have sufficient financial resources and children have access to stable, nurturing care, they flourish from kindergarten to career. Child care strengthens our current workforce and the workforce of tomorrow, and in turn secures the future prosperity of our state. But child care is unaffordable for too many families. For a family of three making around $35,000/year in Minnesota, the average cost of infant care at a family provider would consume about 20 percent of their income, or at a center, about 40 percent of their income. When child care isn’t affordable, families may experience economic hardship and parents may piece together a patchwork of care arrangements, or resort to using lower-quality or unsafe care environments.

Minnesota helps low- and moderate-income families afford child care through the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) and the Minnesota Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit. Inadequate CCAP funding, eroding child care provider reimbursement rates, and a limited tax credit means too many families still can’t access the child care they need.

Families and children deserve access to affordable child care that meets their needs. Children's Defense Fund-Minnesota supports strengthening the Child Care Assistance Program and the Minnesota Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit. We are proud to work in partnership with the Kids Can’t Wait coalition to advocate for these programs and policies at the state capitol.

Visit our Capitol Watch page.

Child Care Assistance Program

Ensuring all eligible families have access to affordable child care that meets their needs through the Child Care Assistance Program

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.

Learn more about the Child Care Assistance Program.

Child & Dependent Care Tax Credit

Minnesota provides a refundable Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit that helps offset the high cost of child care for some low- and moderate-income families.

However, the size of the credit doesn’t reflect rising child care costs and the scope of its reach is limited. During the 2016 legislative session, lawmakers included an increased and expanded Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit in their final tax bill to help more low- and mid-income families afford the high cost of care. Families with one dependent would be able to access a new maximum credit of $1,050 (up from $720) and the maximum adjusted gross income to qualify for the credit would be $44,900 (up from $39,400). Families with two or more dependents would be able to access a new maximum credit of $2,100 (up from $1,440) and the maximum adjusted gross income to qualify for the credit would be $51,800 (up from $39,400). Governor Dayton did not sign the tax bill into law.

Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota supports improving the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit, including by increasing the size of the credit and expanding eligibility to reach more low- and moderate-income families so they can afford safe, consistent, high-quality child care that meets their needs.

Learn more about the Child Care Assistance Program.

Data & Publications

CDF publications relevant to early childhood development and child care.

KIDS COUNT

Child Care: A Two Generational Approach to Family Economic Security

Consistent, dependable relationships are the foundation for children to form secure attachment to the caregivers in their family. These stable and predictable relationships are also essential to children in child care settings.

April 23, 2015

Other publications relevant to early childhood development and child care.