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Peacetime Emergency Child Care Grants Conclude

photo of child washing hands while provider watches

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 sector workers during the state’s COVID-19 emergency response.

Approximately $40 million was distributed throughout three grant rounds, through a total of 5,309 grants. Just over 700 programs received grants in all three rounds. Grants went out to every region of the state, including tribally-licensed programs, and to family child care programs as well as center-based programs. Because of a doubling of available funds for the third and final round, we were able to fund 67% of applicants in June, up from only 23% in April and 30% in May.

That’s the good news. The more difficult news is that the number of applicants, as well as the phone calls and emails we received, tell us that there is a huge unmet need for financial help. The pandemic and its economic consequences have devasted the child care system in Minnesota. The Peacetime Emergency grants, while helpful to those who received them, were not sufficient (and were not designed) to provide the financial support that many child care programs need to remain viable. DHS has launched a new grant program, COVID-19 Public Health Support Funds for Child Care, to help meet the broader need. Applications for this fund were open to every child care program in Minnesota and were accepted through July 26, 2020. We hope that this grant program is another step toward developing a long-term policy strategy to support the child care system through this difficult time.