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Outlining the 2023 Child Care Cost Modeling Report
By Diane Benjamin | December 14, 2023

People in the early childhood field know that the amount that most child care programs can charge families for tuition is usually less than the actual cost of operating the programs, much less running a profitable business. A new report demonstrates this is true across almost all geographies and program types in Minnesota. In fall…

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Child Care Wayfinder Navigators
By Diane Benjamin | November 21, 2023

Child Care Wayfinder is a one-stop navigation network for starting and growing child care programs. It provides encouragement, support, and connection to resources required for initial licensing and resources needed for sustaining or expanding currently licensed child care programs. It began in 2022 and operates through a system of local navigators in Child Care Aware…

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Public Policy and Advocacy with Cara Luebke
By Diane Benjamin | November 7, 2023

Cara Luebke is the new Public Policy Coordinator at the Child Care Aware Coordinating Office. After minoring in child advocacy studies in college, Cara is returning to this work after completing a master’s program in Advocacy and Political Leadership and working in youth development and advocacy. Cara sees her position as supporting other advocates to…

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Great Start Compensation Support Payments Launch
By Diane Benjamin | October 25, 2023

The new Great Start Compensation Support Payment Program starts this month. Last spring, the Minnesota Legislature approved a range of child care investments, including funds to continue monthly grant payments to providers. Child care centers must use the funding from the program to increase staff compensation and benefits, while family child care programs can use…

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New Parent Aware Videos Available to View
By Diane Benjamin | October 5, 2023

Parent Aware Rated programs have a lot to say about their Parent Aware experience! Recently, we were able to interview two family child care business owners in northern Minnesota, Jo and Lisa. These first-person testimonials help tell the story of the benefits of becoming Parent Aware Rated and focus especially on the positive relationships that…

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REETAIN Bonuses Help Child Care Professionals Stay in the Field
By Valerie Peterson | September 21, 2023

Workforce retention is a constant challenge in child care programs. Fortunately, Minnesota has a program to help these programs retain and support staff. The Retaining Early Educators Through Attaining Incentives Now (REETAIN) program provides competitive bonuses of $500 – $3,000 to incentivize well-trained child care professionals to stay in the workforce, creating more consistent care…

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Outreach Coordinator Deb Spaeth
By Diane Benjamin | August 29, 2023

Families need help finding child care, and our Parent Aware web, phone, and chat services provide free, personalized help. However, employers, job training programs, educational institutions, and many others also need child care for their employees, clients, and students. This is where Child Care Information Outreach Coordinator Deb Spaeth comes in. Deb describes her job…

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Empower to Educate Update
By Diane Benjamin | August 2, 2023

Empower to Educate helps current and aspiring early childhood educators begin, advance, and sustain their career goals in child care. The purpose of the project is to increase the number of people entering the early childhood workforce by offering benefits such as a free training package, an education preparation stipend, job skills training, help accessing…

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Direct Support for Child Care Programs
By Ann McCully | June 21, 2023

The global Covid-19 pandemic has underlined the importance of child care for children, working families, and the economy. However, even before the pandemic, years of underinvestment in the early childhood field had left the child care system stressed to its limit. Federal and state relief funds are helping stabilize the Early Childhood Education field, but…

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Sit-Down with Nou Thao
By Diane Benjamin | June 7, 2023

Nou Thao is the Associate Director of Programs at Child Care Aware of Minnesota. Nou joined the organization six months ago after managing school-age and early childhood programs for AmeriCorps. One of Nou’s most important roles is supporting the Child Care Aware district and regional coordinators throughout the state, including their efforts to build an…

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Update on Child Care Wayfinder
By Diane Benjamin | May 5, 2023

Child Care Wayfinder is a one-stop navigation network for starting and growing child care programs. As part of regional Child Care Aware agencies and MNTRECC (Minnesota Tribal Resources for Early Childhood Care), local navigators help people in their communities create, sustain, and expand licensed home-based and center-based programs. The number of child care providers and…

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Facts About American Rescue Plan Support Grants in Minnesota
By Diane Benjamin | April 12, 2023

Funds from the American Rescue Plan, launched during the COVID-19 pandemic, support monthly stabilization grants to child care programs in Minnesota. Here are a few facts from the federal Administration for Children and Families Office of Child Care (data through December 2022) :   8,230 child care programs received support 212,500 children potentially impacted $324.2…

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Advocacy for Children Day Recap
By Nikki Graf | March 29, 2023

For over 20 years, hundreds of young children, parents, early childhood professionals, and advocates from across the state have come together to ask legislators to prioritize Minnesota’s youngest children. This year, Advocacy for Children Day was back in-person at the State Capitol to urge policymakers to go “All In For Our Kids!” Over 35,000 children…

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Reflections from Cory Woosley
By Diane Benjamin | March 2, 2023

After 21 years with Child Care Aware of Minnesota, and 41 years in the early childhood field, Cory Woosley, our Director of Workforce Development, is retiring in March. Cory took the time to share some reflections with Communications Director Diane Benjamin. Cory: “I would like us to learn from what we’ve done before. Those of…

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Great Start for All Task Force Report Released
By Ann McCully | February 13, 2023

The Great Start for All Task Force Report is here! This report was the product of 15 months of work by a diverse working group of early childhood stakeholders, including our Executive Director Ann McCully. This blueprint for comprehensive reform of the child care system focuses on three goals: Creating a system where family costs…

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REETAIN’s 20th Anniversary
By Diane Benjamin | January 18, 2023

This year is the 20th anniversary of the REETAIN program! The REETAIN Bonus program (Retaining Early Educators Through Attaining Incentives Now) helps supplement income for early childhood educators as they work to establish a career. The goal of this program is to keep qualified educators in the early childhood field. REETAIN bonuses can be used…

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Child Care Aware of Minnesota by the Numbers
By Diane Benjamin | January 4, 2023

As we head into a legislative session this January, we have summarized our activities for the previous fiscal year, July 2021 through June 2022. Here’s a look at Child Care Aware of Minnesota by the numbers: 37,835 parents completed child care searches at ParentAware.org 14,004 students took at least one Eager-to-Learn class 6,267 early educators…

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Parent Aware Recruitment with Alicia Bauman
By Diane Benjamin | November 23, 2022

Parent Aware has a mission to help families find the quality care and education their children need to succeed in school and life. Parent Aware Recruiters are a crucial part of building the program throughout the state. Alicia Bauman is the Recruiter for northwestern Minnesota, working remotely for Lakes and Prairies Community Action Partnership in…

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New Parent Aware Testimonial Videos
By Diane Benjamin | October 26, 2022

Parent Aware Rated programs have a lot to say about their Parent Aware experience! This summer, we were able to interview three of them: Renee, who operates a family child care program in central Minnesota, Lili, who operates a family child care program in northwest Minnesota, and Leah, who is the director of a child…

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Introducing Child Care Wayfinder
By Matt Carlson | October 11, 2022

Child Care Wayfinder is a one-stop navigation network for starting and growing child care programs. The network is staffed by local navigators at regional Child Care Aware agencies and Minnesota Tribal Resources for Early Childhood Care (MNTRECC). Our local navigators act as resource guides. We accompany new programs through the licensing process, we assess business…

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Empower to Educate is Launched
By Empower to Educate | August 3, 2022

Our Professional Development department’s latest project, Empower to Educate, is launched and open for enrollment! With funding from the Minnesota Department of Human Services, Empower to Educate helps current and aspiring early childhood educators advance and sustain their career goals in child care. This workforce development program offers financial support, free training options, job skills…

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T.E.A.C.H. Celebrates 20 Years – Part 2
By Diane Benjamin | July 20, 2022

As we begin the 20th anniversary year of the T.E.A.C.H. Minnesota scholarship program, our Communications Director, Diane Benjamin, took time to interview our Director of Financial Supports, Val Peterson, who was there at the beginning of T.E.A.C.H. The T.E.A.C.H. program began in Minnesota in 2002, with support from 14 different funders. These included statewide and…

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T.E.A.C.H. Celebrates 20 Years – Part 1
By Diane Benjamin | July 6, 2022

As we begin the 20th anniversary year of the T.E.A.C.H. Minnesota scholarship program, our Communications Director, Diane Benjamin, took time to interview our T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship staff, Erin Young and Nghia Vang. We began our conversation with Erin and Nghia sharing that the most satisfying part of their work is helping early educators complete their degree…

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Commitment to Power to the Profession
By Christy Berg | June 9, 2022

Child Care Aware of Minnesota is excited to align our work with the national Power to the Profession (P2P) initiative, hosted by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. The early childhood education profession is working toward having unified standards and guidelines for our field. We know that high-quality early care and education…

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Child Care Aware Institute Recap
By Carly Hawley | May 20, 2022

For the first time in almost three years, staff and select partners gathered for the Child Care Aware of Minnesota Institute on May 5 and 6 in Minneapolis. The Institute is a biennial training event for Child Care Aware network staff and partners hosted by the Child Care Aware of Minnesota Coordinating Office. This year’s…

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2022 Legislative Session Update
By Ann McCully | April 25, 2022

As lawmakers return to the Capitol this week from their spring break, their focus will be on the passage of all of the omnibus bills (packages of policy and funding proposals by topic area) and negotiating differences in those proposals through conference committees. The current House and Senate bills are taking very different approaches to…

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The History of Inequity in Early Childhood Education
By Nikki Graf | March 25, 2022

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” This famous quote from Spanish philosopher George Santayana is an important reminder for the early childhood education field. As we try to address knotty questions about compensation, professionalism, quality, and racial equity, understanding the history and evolution of child care in the United States can…

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The Importance of Play in Early Childhood
By Cory Woosley | March 8, 2022

A recent news story on National Public Radio highlights the continued need to promote a play-based approach to learning. A randomized, longitudinal study of over 2,900 low-income children in Tennessee found that those who attended a free, public pre-kindergarten program initially scored higher than their peers on school readiness, but by third grade, were doing…

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New Child Care Aware of America Report
By Diane Benjamin | February 23, 2022

Child Care Aware of America has issued a new report, “Demanding Change: Repairing Our Child Care System.” As the report states, “The pandemic illuminated how indispensable child care is for the well-being and economic security for our children, families, and communities, while simultaneously revealing the system’s many shortcomings. Child care has been underfunded for decades,…

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2022 Legislative Session Begins
By Ann McCully | February 9, 2022

The 2022 Legislative session began on January 31. While this is the “short” session focused on bonding and policy, there is already much activity related to early childhood issues. The current state budget is set through June 2023. A $7 billion surplus has allowed lawmakers to discuss potential additions. Later this month, the next budget…

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Eager-to-Learn Turns 20 – Part 2
By Diane Benjamin | January 25, 2022

In Part 1 of this blog post, we reviewed the early days of Eager-to-Learn. In this post, we look to the program’s future. Eager-to-Learn (ETL) began 20 years ago as a pioneering online learning program for early educators and continues to innovate and grow. One program priority is to keep addressing equity and accessibility through…

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Eager-to-Learn Turns 20 – Part 1
By Diane Benjamin | January 13, 2022

This year, Eager-to-Learn (ETL), our early education online learning platform, celebrates its 20th anniversary. An institution in Minnesota’s training environment today, ETL started when online learning was just emerging. As Cory Woosley, Director of Workforce Development, remembers, “Online learning was not a big thing twenty years ago. We worked with national partners to learn about…

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Empowering Families to Ask Questions
By Jen Goinz | December 1, 2021

Searching for child care can be a difficult process. There are so many factors to consider, and we know from research that cost is utmost in parents’ minds. However, we also want parents to be empowered to ask important questions before they select a child care program. Our publication Finding Child Care: A Guide for…

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Expanding Child Care Aware’s Public Policy Leadership
By Diane Benjamin | November 9, 2021

In August, Nikki Graf started a new position as Child Care Aware of Minnesota’s (CCAoMN) Public Policy Specialist. In this role, Nikki supports the CARE Fellows program and will provide help tracking legislation, organizing testimony, and networking with advocates during legislative sessions. Our Communications Director, Diane Benjamin, recently spoke with Nikki about her new role.…

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How I Grew My Career through T.E.A.C.H.
By Erin Young | October 18, 2021

T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® MINNESOTA is a scholarship program that helps early childhood and school-age care providers increase their levels of education, compensation, and commitment to the field by earning college credits and degrees. T.E.A.C.H. program recipient Lynn Barten recently shared the following story with us: “I had the goal of obtaining my early childhood education degree…

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More Financial Help for Families with Children: The Child Tax Credit
By Diane Benjamin | September 16, 2021

In the child care world, we usually focus on the economic policies that directly affect families’ ability to pay for the cost of child care – programs like the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), Early Learning Scholarships, and the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit. However, this summer’s temporary expansion of the Child Tax Credit…

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A Vision for the Future of Child Care Funding
By Ann McCully | August 11, 2021

The pandemic has revealed a lot of the underlying problems with how we structure and fund child care in this country. However, it’s easy to get so busy responding to daily challenges that we forget to stop and boldly imagine a better system. A new paper from University of Minnesota professors Liz Davis and Aaron Sojourner,…

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The Role of Parent Aware Recruiters
By Diane Benjamin | July 27, 2021

Parent Aware, Minnesota’s Quality Rating and Improvement System, has a mission to help families find the quality care and education their children need to succeed in school and life. The five Parent Aware Recruiters are a crucial part of building the program throughout the state. Amber English is the recruiter for southeast Minnesota, based at…

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Child Care Aware of Minnesota Launches New Mission, Values, and Vision
By Ann McCully | July 6, 2021

Child Care Aware of Minnesota is pleased to announce our new mission, values, and vision. Developed from a collaborative strategic planning process over the past year, these new statements more clearly express who we are and how we view our work. Mission: We are a statewide early childhood leader driving change through partnerships to build…

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Articles Address Low Wages in Early Education and Introduce a New Wage Scale
By Diane Benjamin | June 16, 2021

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development has now published two in-depth articles documenting both the very low wages in the early childhood profession, particularly in family child care, and analyzing a proposed equitable wage scale for the field, developed by the Transforming Minnesota’s Early Childhood Workforce project. Child Care Aware of Minnesota participates…

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Child Care Aware of Minnesota Receives Grant to Support the CARE Fellowship
By Ann McCully | March 30, 2021

Child Care Aware of Minnesota is pleased to announce receipt of a multi-year grant from the Hopkins Early Learning Center for $200,000 in support of the Katie Williams CARE Public Policy Fellowship. The CARE (Child Care Advocates Ready to Emerge) Fellowship provides early childhood and school-age care professionals an opportunity to connect their daily work…

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Essential Supplies Keep Child Care Working
By Katie Hoffman | March 25, 2021

Beginning last April, Child Care Aware of Minnesota began collaborating with a sub-group of the Governor’s COVID Education and Child Care Workgroup to distribute critical supplies to child care programs around the state. While it feels like 100 years ago that this all started, I know it has only been a year. Perhaps you can…

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Family Child Care Task Force Report Released
By Diane Benjamin | March 9, 2021

After two years of hard work, the Minnesota Family Child Care Task Force has released their final report. This task force included family child care providers from both Greater Minnesota and the metro area, representatives from family child care associations, county licensors, the Minnesota Department of Human Services, the Children’s Cabinet, parents, legislators, other stakeholders,…

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Building a Better Child Care System
By Janet Peterson | February 24, 2021

“If you could build it, what would a better child care system look like?” This question was posed to a study group at the Coordinating Office as we were discussing the Child Care Aware of America Picking Up the Pieces report. The report points out that the current system falls far short of meeting the…

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Legislative Update
By Ann McCully | February 3, 2021

Child Care Aware of Minnesota helps you stay informed about the latest child care and early education policy news. Each week during the legislative session, our Legislative Update provides a brief overview of bills that have been introduced, action that has been taken at the committee level or on the floor, and any other pertinent…

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Emergency Grants Helped Programs Stay Open
By Ann McCully | January 19, 2021

As the pandemic descended in March, the Minnesota Legislature funded $30 million in emergency grants to help child care programs respond to the child care needs of essential workers. An additional $10 million was added to the program in June. The Minnesota Department of Human Services, Governor’s Children’s Cabinet, and Child Care Aware of Minnesota…

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Child Care Aware and the Minnesota Department of Education Partner in State High Schools
By Cory Woosley | December 15, 2020

Child Care Aware of Minnesota has embarked on a partnership with the Minnesota Department of Education and Family and Consumer Sciences educators to support high school students that may be interested in early childhood education as a profession. This project aims to create excitement and interest by offering students no-cost options to explore careers in…

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Five Tips for Choosing a Quality CDA Program
By Christy Berg | December 1, 2020

The Council for Professional Recognition recently shared a blog post with five tips for choosing a quality Child Development Associate Credential (CDA) program. This nationally recognized credential offers recognition for valuable knowledge about working with children and helping them reach their full potential. It is often a first step into a career educating young children.…

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T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® MINNESOTA Annual Report Now Available
By Erin Young | November 19, 2020

T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® MINNESOTA is a scholarship program that helps early childhood and school-age care early educators increase their levels of education, compensation, and commitment to the field by earning college credits and degrees. Over 230 early childhood educators were awarded a scholarship in state fiscal year 2019-2020, and the program has awarded over 1,200…

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Ann McCully Wins Nancy Latimer Award
By Diane Benjamin | November 4, 2020

We are proud to announce that our Executive Director, Ann McCully, was a co-winner of this year’s Nancy Latimer Award! The other winner was also from our system – Dianne Haulcy from Think Small. Here are Ann’s remarks from the award presentation: I want to thank the Early Childhood Funders for this award. I am…

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Child Care Aware Access Ambassadors Move Forward
By Calahena Merrick | October 21, 2020

The Child Care Aware of Minnesota (CCAoMN) Access Ambassadors workgroup ensures that all CCAoMN staff have the tools, knowledge, skills, and confidence necessary to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion within the child care system. The Access Ambassadors is comprised of CCAoMN staff from diverse backgrounds and all areas of expertise, from both the Twin Cities…

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Child Care is Essential Before, During and After the Pandemic
By Ann McCully | October 8, 2020

The early childhood workforce, and child care itself, is always essential. Without a strong and healthy early childhood workforce, we cannot sustain a strong and healthy economy. However, as we lurch into the seventh month of the pandemic and the start of school, our Child Care information Specialists are talking with working parents every day…

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Supporting Program Leaders: TELL Talks
By Christy Berg | September 24, 2020

Something I have always admired about early childhood educators and program leaders is our tenacity, passion, and drive to ensure that all of the children in child care receive the best education while in their programs. We have all had to address numerous challenges and stressors during the past few months, first because of the…

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T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® MINNESOTA Testimonial
By Erin Young | September 15, 2020

T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® MINNESOTA is a scholarship program that helps early childhood and school-age care providers increase their levels of education, compensation, and commitment to the field by earning college credits and degrees. T.E.A.C.H. program recipient Yun Sun recently shared the following story with us. (Her story has been edited for length.) My name is Yun…

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Eager-to-Learn Through the Years
By Diane Benjamin | August 12, 2020

Grace Kitzinger, our Online Learning Program Manager, is leaving Child Care Aware after nine years. She took some time to sit down with me and reflect on the growth of Eager-to-Learn (ETL) and the technological changes she has seen during that time. In fiscal year 2011, when Grace started her job, ETL offered 140 events…

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Peacetime Emergency Child Care Grants Conclude
By Ann McCully | July 28, 2020

In mid-July, we wrapped up the third and final round of the Peacetime Emergency Child Care grants. These grants, proposed by Gov. Tim Walz and authorized by the Minnesota Legislature, were designed to support family child care providers and child care centers to ensure there are enough child care slots to serve families of critical…

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Coronavirus Resources
By Ann McCully | March 4, 2020

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) is dominating headlines and quickly becoming a concern for child care programs and parents. Our national office has shared a new blog post titled Coronavirus: How Does It Impact Child Care Providers and CCR&Rs? with helpful information for child care programs. The post provides an overview of the current situation, recommendations to…

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Deregulation is Not the Answer
By Diane Benjamin | February 19, 2020

Reducing the rules that regulate child care is often offered as a solution to declining numbers of family child care programs. Late last year, Child Care AwareÒ of America published a one-page issue brief, The Child Care Supply Crisis: Why Deregulation is Not the Answer. It showed that the number of family child care programs…

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The 2020 Legislative Session Begins
By Ann McCully | February 5, 2020

The 2020 Legislative session begins on February 11! While this is the “short” session focused on bonding and policy, there is already a whirlwind of activity related to early childhood issues. The current state budget is already set through June 2021, but news of a $1.3 billion surplus has allowed lawmakers to discuss potential additions.…

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The Role of Play in Early Childhood Curriculum
By Marissa Albritton | January 22, 2020

With kindergarten readiness on the minds of parents, K-12 teachers, and legislators alike, the pressure to prepare children for standardized testing and stringent elementary school schedules is an increasing concern among many early educators. This has sometimes led to a bias against the use of formal curricula in early childhood programs and classrooms. Many have…

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Improving the Parent Aware Experience through Surveys
By Melissa Slapnicher | January 8, 2020

As another Parent Aware Full-Rating Cohort is wrapping up, the Quality Improvement team at the Child Care Aware of Minnesota Coordinating Office is preparing a post-Cohort survey to send to programs that participated in the July 2019 Cohort. This is the fifth consecutive survey we have offered. All programs that participated in either Building Quality…

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The Importance of Self-Care
By Calahena Merrick | December 4, 2019

I had the privilege to attend the annual Child Care Aware of Minnesota Institute in early November. The Institute is a professional development and networking opportunity for all Child Care Aware staff and select partners from across the state to connect, grow, and learn. This year’s theme, “It’s All About You,” focused on wellness, self-care,…

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Professional Development Advisors Are Here to Help
By Kateri Skunes | November 12, 2019

Have you ever thought about getting your CDA or a college degree in early childhood education, but didn’t know what the options were? Or maybe you wanted more information on child care topics, but didn’t know where to start? Have you thought about joining Parent Aware and wondered which trainings would count towards your Rating?…

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Minnesota Hosts National Child Care Aware Leadership Institute
By Ann McCully | October 23, 2019

Minnesota had the pleasure of hosting the national Child Care Aware of America Leadership Institute on October 6 – 9 in Minneapolis. This annual event drew over 150 leaders from 37 states that work in the Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) field. Across the nation, we focus on increasing access to high-quality, affordable child…

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Parent Aware Standards, Indicators, and Categories: What Are They?
By Katherine Norton | October 8, 2019

I’m at a stage in life where I have many friends and family members with young children, so child care comes up frequently. “I need somewhere to send them that is safe.” “I want them to be ready for kindergarten next year.” “I can’t afford child care!” I often ask them if they have looked…

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Supporting the Workforce Through REETAIN
By Janet Peterson | September 24, 2019

The dynamics of funding in our early childhood education system creates quite a conundrum when it comes to wages for educators. For parents, the cost of child care can significantly strain their family budget. For educators, child care fees aren’t enough to fund a livable wage, which results in many leaving the work they love…

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A Huge Passion for Early Childhood
By Cory Woosley | September 10, 2019

I have been a member of National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) since 1980. That is 38 years, longer than almost anything else I have done in my life. What keeps me coming back is passion – a huge passion – not just for children and their families, but for the people…

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Words Matter
By Kylie Cooper | August 27, 2019

When I first joined the early childhood education profession in 2009, my official title was “Child Care Worker.” This title was one step below assistant, and meant I was in a support role to the other staff and should never be solely responsible for the safety or supervision of children. In the years that followed,…

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Parent Aware Cohort Summary
By Katherine Norton | August 13, 2019

As the Rating Team Manager, I coordinate the Parent Aware Rating review process. We review hundreds of examples documenting school readiness practices that programs all over the state are using every day. It is always exciting to see the creativity and passion of so many family child care providers and center-based programs. The Full-Rating Pathway…

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T.E.A.C.H. Makes College Possible
By Erin Young | July 30, 2019

T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® MINNESOTA is a scholarship program that helps early childhood and school-age care providers increase their levels of education, compensation, and commitment to the field by earning college credits and degrees. T.E.A.C.H. program recipient Ndeye Anta Diop recently shared the following story with us: “I am from Senegal, and I have been living in…

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Understanding the Parent Aware Experience
By Diane Benjamin | July 16, 2019

Understanding the experiences that child care professionals have with Parent Aware is the key to creating a program that is responsive to their needs. A recent survey conducted by Child Trends gives us the opportunity to learn more about these experiences. Child Trends surveyed Minnesota child care providers that participate in Parent Aware, that have…

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Planning for Emergencies
By Valerie Peterson | July 2, 2019

With summer and severe weather season in full swing, I can’t help but reflect on our work with emergency preparedness. In Minnesota, we have our fair share of situations including tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, blizzards, floods, house fires, and gas leaks which require child care homes and centers to be prepared so that children are safe.…

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End of Session Reflection
By Ann McCully | June 19, 2019

Reflecting on the outcome of this most recent legislative session, it is truly a test of the glass half-full or glass half-empty perspective. I land on one-fourth full, three-fourths empty, and disappointment over lost opportunities. The year started hopefully, with a new Governor and Lieutenant Governor who both support early education. Their budget had investments…

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Friendly Help Finding Child Care
By Child Care Information Services | June 5, 2019

When parents seeking child care dial 888-291-9811, they reach a trio of friendly, helpful Child Care Information Specialists on the other end of the line. And now, they can reach this same help through our new online chat. We recently ask our specialists Jen Goinz, AnnaMarie Schluender, and Debra Spaeth what they love most about…

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Access Ambassadors Promote Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
By Karen Fogolin | May 8, 2019

Every month since February, a group of twelve Child Care Aware staff volunteers from all program areas have been meeting together as Access Ambassadors. Our goal? To create a system where everyone is welcomed, respected, supported, and valued. We also want our programs to reflect our values of diversity, equity and inclusion. We carefully discuss…

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My Experience at the 2019 Child Care Works Summit
By Courtney Bokovoy | April 24, 2019

Each year, the Child Care Aware national office hosts the Child Care Works Summit in Washington, D.C. as part of their ongoing work to mobilize individuals to advocate for child care policies that improve the lives of children and families. This spring, I was lucky enough to attend. We spent the first day of the…

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How T.E.A.C.H. Changed My Life
By Erin Young | April 10, 2019

T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® MINNESOTA is a scholarship program that helps early childhood and school-age care providers increase their levels of education, compensation, and commitment to the field by earning college credits and degrees. T.E.A.C.H. program recipient Patricia Monacelli recently shared the following story with us: “Where do I even begin? T.E.A.C.H. literally changed my life. I remember over…

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R.E.E.T.A.I.N. Bonuses Are Helping Child Care Professionals Stay in the Field
By Valerie Peterson | March 26, 2019

Workforce retention is a constant challenge in child care programs. Fortunately, Minnesota has a program to help these programs retain and support staff. The Retaining Early Educators Through Attaining Incentives Now (R.E.E.T.A.I.N.) program provides a competitive bonus system to incentivize well-trained child care professionals to stay in the workforce, creating more consistent care for children…

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Why Should We Engage in Early Childhood Public Policy?
By Ann McCully | March 12, 2019

Public policy work is daunting. Messy. Confusing. The pace of change is slow and sometimes things even go in reverse. It takes a lot of time and energy. But it is also critical work for the children and families that we serve, and our society. As a colleague of mine used to say, “if you…

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Poll Results: How Minnesota Voters Think About Child Care
By Diane Benjamin | February 26, 2019

A statewide poll of registered voters in Minnesota has lots of good news for supporters of quality child care. The Center for American Progress commissioned the poll last summer to better understand how voters think about and respond to messages about child care. They found the following in Minnesota: Funding child care and early education…

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Celebrating Parent Aware
By Katie Hoffman | February 12, 2019

Each year, we gather as a Child Care Aware system to celebrate the success of Parent Aware. Our most recent event was held on a summer day in August (and included an ice cream social, of course). This year’s celebration highlighted positive results from a new study of coaching practices, gave districts a chance to…

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Five Things You Need to Know About the Child Development Associate Credential
By Kylie Cooper | January 29, 2019

As Child Care Aware of Minnesota’s Workforce Advising Coordinator, I hear just about every question about the Child Development Associate (CDA). What is it? Is it necessary? Is it beneficial to my career? Does it count towards my higher education degree? Here are the five things everyone should know about the CDA: The basics. Candidates…

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Our Contribution to Public Policy
By Ann McCully | January 14, 2019

How can Child Care Aware agencies help shape public policy? Here are four ways: We are perfectly positioned to speak with authority about the challenges of early care and education because we sit at the intersection of several key constituencies: parents, providers, and communities. We have data about our system and its needs, a powerful…

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