Policy Strategies & Innovations Link copied!
|Innovation Name||Innovation Type||Innovation Subtype||Features at a Glance||Strategy Summary|
|Great Start Compensation Support Payment Program||Workforce||Benefits Bonuses and Supplemental Pay||
Monthly payments to child care providers to increase compensation and benefits for early educators; grants range from $360-390 per month per full-time educator
In 2023, Minnesota lawmakers created the Great Start Compensation Support Payment Program, which provides funding to enhance compensation and benefits for early educators across the state. This program builds on a previous initiative called the Child Care Stabilization Grant Program. To receive funds, providers must be (1) licensed, certified, or registered; (2) in good standing with either the Minnesota Department of Human Services or their Tribe; (3) open, operating and serving children during the funding period; and (4) serve a minimum number of children during the funding period . Family child care providers, licensed centers, and certified centers are eligible to participate in this program.
100% of Compensation Support Payment funds must be used to increase compensation for all child care workers who regularly care for children in centers licensed or certified by the state or Tribe.
Family child care providers licensed by the state or a Tribe have more flexibility in terms of how they use their funds; for example, they may use funds to pay for personnel costs (e.g., salaries, bonuses, or benefits), rent or mortgage payments, equipment or supplies, or professional learning expenses.
Grant amounts are determined by the number of full-time-equivalent (FTE) staff who regularly care for children. Providers participating in the Child Care Assistance Program, receiving Early Learning Scholarship payments, or located in a Child Care Access Equity Area are eligible for a 10% bonus on top of the original grant.Learn More: Great Start Compensation Payment Program
Minnesota Department of Human Services. (2023). Great Start Compensation Support Payment Program.
Minnesota Department of Human Services. (2023). Great Start Compensation Support Transition Grants Frequently Asked Questions.
|Minnesota Department of Children, Youth, and Families||Infrastructure Systems||Administrative + Governance Models||
State created a transition process to establish a new agency to oversee early education services and programs + out-of-school-time programs serving youth and families
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.Learn More: DCYF Implementation
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.
|Empower to Educate||Workforce||Professional Learning||
Includes training, financial support, job placement support, and mentorship
Created in 2022 with funding from the Minnesota Department of Human Services, Empower to Educate is a workforce development program offering financial support, free training options, job skills training, job placement support, and connections to mentorship opportunities. Participants can also receive ongoing support from a local Workforce Advisor. Empower to Educate provides one-on-one, individualized support to each participant. Workforce Advisors can help participants navigate the early education system for individual coursework, complete the Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential, and make connections to college-level courses and T.E.A.C.H. scholarship opportunities.Learn more: Child Care Aware Minnesota
Child Care Aware Minnesota. (2022). Empower to Educate is Launched.
Child Care Aware Minnesota. (n.d.). Professional Development.
|Great Start for All Minnesota Children Task Force||Infrastructure Systems||Administrative + Governance Models||
State created a task force to provide recommendations for improving and expanding early education and care
In 2021, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed into law bipartisan legislation creating the Great Start for All Minnesota Children Task Force. The task force was charged with developing a state plan to ensure all families "have access to affordable, high-quality early care and education that enriches, nurtures, and supports children and their families." The task force was comprised of 11 voting members appointed by the Governor, 4 voting members appointed by the legislature, and 22 non-voting members appointed by other individuals; membership included state agency representatives, child care providers, elected officials, and others. The task force completed their work and delivered a final report recommending various state actions for improving the accessibility, affordability, and quality of early education and care across the state.Learn More: Great start for All Minnesota Children Task Force
Minnesota Office of Management and Budget. (n.d.). Great Start for All Minnesota Children Task Force.
Great Start for All Minnesota Children Task Force. (2023, February 1). Final Report.
|Child Care Economic Development Grant||Expansion||Physical Space and Facilities||
In 2021, Minnesota established a grant fund, administered by the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), to fund solutions to reduce the child care shortage and support economic development across the state. The state authorized $2.5 million in spending from this fund in fiscal years 2022 and 2023. Funding is provided in the form of grants to local communities; at least 50% of the funds must go to communities outside the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. The grant can be used toward the cost of acquiring a building as well as rehab or renovation costs; applicants may request up to $300,000. DEED uses approximately 3% of appropriated funds to administer and monitor the program.Learn more: child care economic development Grant
Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. (n.d.). Child care economic development.
|Minnesota Early Childhood Longitudinal Data System||Infrastructure Systems||Data Systems||
Early Childhood Integrated Data System
Created in 2016, the Minnesota Department of Education’s Early Childhood Longitudinal Data System (ECLDS) is an early childhood integrated data systemthat functions as a warehouse. The system stores and integrates deidentified demographic, program, and individual data on publicly funded early childhood programs and services for young children and families (e.g., Birth Records, Child Care Assistance Program, Early Education, Home Visiting, etc.) across Minnesota’s departments of Education, Health, and Human Services. Private data is shared through the agencies’ data-sharing agreements, and public data are reported at an aggregated (grouped) level. The ECLDS acts as a companion to Minnesota’s Statewide Longitudinal Education Data System to create a P-20 system.
The system is funded by federal Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Grants and Statewide Longitudinal Data System Grants. The ECLDS also receives funds from the Minnesota Office of Higher Education as part of statewide longitudinal data system appropriations.Learn More: Minnesota Education’s Early Childhood Longitudinal Data System
Demographics Link copied!
5,717,184 Source U.S. Census, 2022
28.1% Source U.S. Census, 2020
71.9% Source U.S. Census, 2020
Number of children age 0-4
337,504 Source KIDS COUNT, 2021
Poverty levels – children 0-8 below 200% poverty
29% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021
Median family income among households with children
$103,700.00 Source KIDS COUNT, 2021
2.5% Source U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, December 2022
Unemployment rate of parents
3% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021
Children under age 6 with all available parents in the labor force
76% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021
Children living in households with a high housing cost burden
31% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021
Child population by race and ethnicity Source KIDS COUNT, 2021
Race and Ethnicity
- American Indian and Alaska Native (1%)
- Asian (6%)
- Black or African American (11%)
- Hispanic or Latino (9%)
- Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander (0.49%)
- Two or More Races (5%)
- White, not Hispanic or Latino (67%)
Political Landscape Link copied!
Early Childhood Education Programs Link copied!
Percent of 3-Year-Old Children Enrolled in Public Early Childhood Education Programs Source 2023
- 3-year-old children enrolled in state-funded public pre-K (1%)
- 3-year-old children enrolled in Head Start (7%)
- Other/none (92%)
Percent of 4-Year-Old Children Enrolled in Public Early Childhood Education Programs Source 2023
- 4-year-old children enrolled in state-funded public pre-K (11%)
- 4-year-old children enrolled in Head Start (6%)
- Other/none (84%)
Workforce Link copied!
2017–2019 Median Hourly Wages Source CSCCE 2018, 2020
- Child care workers
- Preschool teachers
- Preschool or child care center directors
Funding Source Link copied!
Federal and State Early Childhood Education Funding (in millions) Source First Five Years Fund, 2022
- Head Start and Early Head Start Funding ($143.3)
- CCDBG & Mandatory Funds ($129)
- CCDBG State Match ($23.1)
- CCDBG COVID Relief Allocations – CARES, CRRSE, ARPA (CCDF & Stabilization) ($709.8)
- State-Funded Pre-K ($48.6)
- MIECHV ($8.8)
- IDEA Part C ($11.7)
- IDEA Part B, Sec 619 ($11.5)
- TANF Early Learning and Care Expenditures ($164.8)
- Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five ($11.6)
The COVID Funding Cliff
All federal COVID relief allocations, including funding authorized by the CARES, CRRSE, and ARPA bills, must be fully spent by September 2024. An analysis from the Century Foundation shows this loss of funds could cause more than 3 million children to lose access to child care nationwide – including more than 70,000 children in Minnesota.