Minnesota Hosts National Child Care Aware Leadership Institute

Leadership concept using blue paper ship among white

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 care by serving as a resource hub for families, child care professionals, and communities. Our services are similar in every state – helping parents find child care, building the supply of child care, improving the quality of care, collecting and disseminating data, and engaging the community in important conversations about child care and the early education field. CCR&R agencies can be found in 47 states across the country, with formal state network organizations (such as Child Care Aware of Minnesota) in 39 of these.

This year’s conference included promising work on apprenticeships, corporate connections, family and community engagement, and the changing workforce. We also learned about supporting infants and toddlers during disasters and how to use our new Child Care Data Center to influence policy decisions. Finally, we discussed current and emerging federal and state child care policies and the role of CCR&R agencies in that conversation.

We were also able to showcase many of the programs and projects happening in Minnesota, featuring speakers from the Governor’s Children’s Cabinet, the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, the Greater Minnesota Partnership, Voices and Choices for Children, Minneapolis Community and Technical College, New Horizon Academy, and several Child Care Aware of Minnesota staff.

One highlight was a presentation by the Ain Dah Yung Center drum group. Ain Dah Yung is an emergency shelter for runaway and homeless American Indian youth, and they educated attendees on the history and current practice of American Indian drumming, closing with a group circle dance.

We were pleased to offer our many out of state guests the opportunity to experience our state during a beautiful fall week in Minnesota, and build connections that will further our collective efforts.