Minnesota Department of Children, Youth, and Families

Infrastructure to Support Early Childhood Systems

  • Administrative + Governance Models


In 2023, Minnesota lawmakers passed and the governor signed legislation to create a transition process and establish a new cabinet-level state agency—the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF). Core programs from four current state agencies (the Departments of Education, Human Services, Health, and Public Safety), including  services and programs related to early education and care, will transfer to the new agency. The DCYF will also administer out-of-school-time programs serving youth and families, including after-school, food assistance, and child welfare programs. State leaders created this dedicated agency to foster stronger coordination and better outcomes across programs serving children and families. The DCYF will be established in July 2024; the state will finish transferring programs to the new agency by July 2025.


Minnesota Legislature. (2023). Minnesota Session Laws: Chapter 70—S.F.No. 2995.

Minnesota Office of Management and Budget. (2023). Implementation office for the Department of Children, Youth, and Families.

Shockman, E. (2023, May 31). Minnesota lawmakers pledge at least $300 million toward early education. Minnesota Public Radio News.

Connections to Key Early Learning Study at Harvard (ELS@H) Findings:

Strong infrastructure and systems – including governance structures and data systems – are key aspects of high-quality early education and care. And research suggests there is a need for more accessible, affordable, and high-quality early education within a mixed-delivery system; strengthening infrastructure and systems is one important way states and cities can take action to address these needs and accomplish these goals.

Findings from the Early Learning Study at Harvard (ELS@H) that connect to the need for more robust infrastructure and systems, including data systems:

  • Families rely on a range of formal (e.g., Head Start, center-based care, public pre-K) and more informal (e.g., home-based, relative care) early education settings; when choosing a setting for their child, families balance many logistical constraints and personal preferences.
  • But for many families – and especially low- and middle-income families – early education choices remain tightly constrained due to issues of affordability and supply.
  • No one early education setting type is inherently of higher quality than another; children develop and learn well in every setting type, and in the study, all setting types showed room to grow in quality.
  • We have learned a great deal from this groundbreaking, large-scale study. Nevertheless, there is still much to learn about what children, families, and educators need, and about what “works” – for whom and under what circumstances – across all the diverse settings where young children learn and grow.
Learn More about ELS@H Findings

Learn more about Minnesota

Context matters. Visit the Idaho profile page to learn more about its demographics, political landscape, early education programs, early education workforce, and funding sources and streams.

Visit the Minnesota Profile Here
  • The state population is 5,717,184
  • The percentage of children under 6 with all available parents in the workforce is 76%
  • The rural percentage is 28.1%