Making child care affordable for low-income families and helping child care providers are two key elements of the omnibus early childhood finance and policy bill.
It would make several changes to the child care assistance program, expand the definition of family and increase rates paid to providers.
Sponsored by Rep. Dave Pinto (DFL-St. Paul), the bill would expand the definition of family to include foster care families, relative custodians and successor custodians, and define care provided by them as child care. It would also establish grant programs to assist child care providers with technology needs and provide bonuses for licensed family child care providers and legal nonlicensed providers who care for infants.
Total General Fund appropriations for the 2022-23 biennium would be $771 million, including $250 million in new money.
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The bill would modify and change funding for many early education programs. For example, it would designate 10.72% of the state appropriation to Head Start programs to go to tribal Head Start programs; increase funding for early childhood screenings, and establish grants for Grow Your Own child care educator programs to enhance and diversify the early childhood workforce.
Some changes made to the child care assistance Basic Sliding Fee program during the COVID-19 pandemic would be made permanent in an effort to help end the wait listing for families who meet income and other eligibility criteria.
A licensed child care program, school district, charter school, Head Start program, institute of higher education, or other community partnership nongovernment organization could apply for a grant to host, build, or expand an early childhood educator preparation program that leads to a credential or degree.
The proposed legislation also would modify provisions for child care licensing. It would add an individual designated as the primary provider of care for a special family child care program to the definition of “controlling individual.”
The Department of Human Services would be permitted to increase the maximum group size to no more than 40 children and increase the acceptable staff-to-child ratio to 1:20 for certified, license-exempt child care centers during national security, peacetime, or pandemic-related public health emergencies.
And, the department could make grants to school districts and charter schools to provide services related to children’s mental health.
Among other provisions, the bill would:
What's in the bill?
The following are selected bill have been incorporated in part or in whole into the omnibus early childhood finance and policy bill: