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Great Start for All Task Force Report Released

A teacher plays with two young children in an outdoor playground.

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:

  1. Creating a system where family costs for early care and education are affordable.
  2. Ensuring a child’s access to high-quality early care and education is not determined by the child’s race, family income, or zip code.
  3. Ensuring that Minnesota’s early childhood educators are qualified, diverse, supported, and equitably compensated regardless of setting.

The task force made the following recommendations:

  1. Create a family benefits system that provides affordable access to early care and education for all families, with no family paying more than 7% of their income for services. This system would ultimately blend existing assistance programs into one funding stream while preserving family choice among types of programs. The report also contains policy suggestions for shorter-term improvements to approve affordability and access now.
  2. Provide early childhood programs with adequate funding to deliver effective services for children and families. The goal would be to “fairly fund providers for the services they offer” in a way that covers the total cost of services.
  3. Pay the early care and education workforce a living wage. The compensation framework would increase early care and education wages aligned with experience and education and include benefits, including paid time off and health insurance.
  4. Invest in increasing access to effective programs. This includes improvements to accountability systems, regulatory and licensing systems, and the infrastructure that supports child care programs.

This report reflects a holistic approach to addressing the needs in this field—balancing access for families, quality for kids, and compensation for our workforce—and moves us firmly into recommendations that recognize child care as a public good deserving of investments and support.

The Task Force members call on state leaders to implement these recommendations and set Minnesota on a stable and sustainable path where all families can access affordable, high-quality early care and education.

The Key Task Force Recommendations and full report are available online. Legislation is currently pending to address many of the recommendations in the report; our weekly legislative updates track all of these bills.