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More MN Families May Get Help with Child-Care Costs

PHOTO: More Minnesota families could get help covering the high cost of child care, thanks to efforts at the State Capitol, and a report out today (Monday) says doing so would bring economic stability to families and improve the well-being of their children. Photo credit: Alan Turkus/Flickr.
PHOTO: More Minnesota families could get help covering the high cost of child care, thanks to efforts at the State Capitol, and a report out today (Monday) says doing so would bring economic stability to families and improve the well-being of their children. Photo credit: Alan Turkus/Flickr.
April 27, 2015

ST. PAUL, Minn. – As the Minnesota State Legislature enters its final stretch, a new report points out several key ways that lawmakers could improve the well being of the state's children and their working parents.

The briefing from Children's Defense Fund-Minnesota finds that low and moderate-income families simply can't afford the cost of safe and consistent child care.

Stephanie Hogenson, the fund’s research and policy director, says one way to address that would be to invest more state dollars in the basic sliding fee child care assistance program, which has seen its funding erode over the last decade.

"It actually serves 4,500 fewer families than it did in 2003,” Hogenson points out. “And of course, since then, the state's median income has decreased, and child care costs have increased. So, more and more families are economically unstable and unable to afford child care."

Hogenson adds the cost of center-based infant care in Minnesota is the fourth highest in the nation and consumes nearly one-fifth of the median household income for families raising children.

The report also calls for raising the state's reimbursement rates to child care providers, so that they can afford to accept families using child-care assistance.

Hogenson says the other way to make a major positive impact would be to expand Minnesota's Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit.

"Currently, you have to have income below $39,000 a year, but we know families at more than three times that rate are struggling to afford child care, and the Minnesota Child and Dependent Care Credit could reduce some of those," she states.

Proposals to increase the tax credit and child care assistance are still in play at the State Capitol. Hogenson is hopeful both will win final approval, saying improvements in families' economic stability would lead to better outcomes for the state's children, in school and in life.


John Michaelson, Public News Service - MN