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Economic Crisis Impacting Minnesota’s “Junior Citizens”

February 24, 2009

St. Paul, MN – The economic squeeze is putting a financial pinch on many Minnesota families trying to find quality affordable child care. Karen Fogolin, associate director of the Child Care Resource and Referral Network, says a lot of parents are trying to balance those costs along with other expenses. And, some are making tough choices.

"Many families are actually pulling their children out of child care. With so many people losing their jobs, they no longer have the need, nor can they afford to keep their child in programs."

She says the dilemma is that child care is a necessity for many working parents, but their income won't allow it. Fogolin notes another economic impact is that the child-care industry, a network of 13,000 family and center providers statewide, is downsizing, putting even more people out of work.

Fogolin says it's especially important, during tight economic times, for those who need child care in order to work to be able to find and afford it. And, she adds, help is out there.

"They can look at Child Care Assistance, which provides financial support to families who are unable to pay for child care. There's also a program called 'Bridges to Benefits.'"

She says that's a service that helps low-income people learn about benefits and programs they might qualify for but have not heard of. It's online at www.BridgeToBenefits.org. Many providers will help parents work out an affordable payment schedule, she adds. There are 370,000 children in child care in Minnesota.

More information is available at www.mnchildcare.org.

Jim Wishner, Public News Service - MN