SAINT PAUL, Minn.— This week, the Minnesota House of Representatives approved E-12 Education and Health and Human Services budgets. The budgets contain many measures relating to the well-being of young children.
“All Minnesota children deserve a great start to life,” said Rep. Dave Pinto (DFL – St. Paul), chair of the House Early Childhood Division. “We all benefit when that happens. I’m excited to move forward with an ambitious agenda on behalf of the youngest Minnesotans.”
Provisions in the budget bills parallel the Great Start for All Minnesota Children Act, the first bill of the House session and a top priority for the House DFL. The bills would support prenatal care, including the use of doulas, and home visiting, a voluntary service that helps stabilize families at risk. Funding for the Minnesota Family Investment Program would increase for the first time in 33 years. The legislation would also provide grants to improve child development outcomes and close health disparities for children of color and American Indian children.
The budgets would also expand access to early care and learning, helping to address the state’s opportunity gap and child care shortage. The legislation would increase investment in child care assistance, early learning scholarships, and voluntary pre-kindergarten.
Finally, the bills contain a large number of measures to ensure the integrity of social service programs, including those relating to child care. These would enhance the ability of investigators to identify and prove any misuse of funds and at the same time help to prevent such misuse from happening in the first place.
“Especially as a prosecutor, I’m appalled by any diversion of funds from children who need them,” said Rep. Pinto. “Our budget legislation addresses such wrongdoing while continuing to invest in critical programs on which thousands of Minnesota families rely.”