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4 dead as severe storms hit Houston, TX; Election Protection Program eases access to voting information; surge in solar installations eases energy costs for Missourians; IN makes a splash for Safe Boating Week.

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The Supreme Court rules funding for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is okay, election deniers hold key voting oversight positions in swing states, and North Carolina lawmakers vote to ban people from wearing masks in public.

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Americans are buying up rubber ducks ahead of Memorial Day, Nebraskans who want residential solar have a new lifeline, seven community colleges are working to provide students with a better experience, and Mississippi's "Big Muddy" gets restoration help.

Earning Stars: Minnesota's Top-Rated Child Care Providers

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Monday, January 27, 2014   

ROCHESTER, Minn. - The number of day-care providers helping to raise the bar on quality early childhood in Minnesota has now surpassed one-thousand. The providers are enrolled in the voluntary rating program called "Parent Aware."

Minnesota Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson remarked that the voluntary rating system helps providers stay up to date and helps parents more easily find high-quality care and early education.

"I want people to know," she declared, "they should look for quality-rated child care homes because their kids are going to get off to a better start and be more prepared for kindergarten if they do."

Jesson said kids who are ready when they get to kindergarten have better odds for future success, and that's important to all Minnesotans.

In Olmstead County, the program was put in place last year and one of the top-rated programs in that area thus far is Underbakke's "Little Tykes Daycare" in Rochester. That's where Erin Underbakke and her husband take care of a dozen children, from four months to nine years

"I'm always taking different trainings and trying to stay on top of everything," Erin Underbakke said. "This just shows that the providers who are doing this are willing to take an extra step and further their education to help get these kids ready for school."

The Parent Aware rating system is set to go statewide next year.

More information on the program and those providers taking part can be found online at ParentAwareRatings.org.





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