As part of their COVID-19 Response Supplemental Budget proposal, Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan proposed $30 million in funding for emergency grants for licensed child care providers serving essential workers during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Child care providers and educators themselves are expressly listed as essential.
The Department of Human Services, Governor’s Children’s Cabinet, and Child Care Aware of Minnesota are working together to distribute these funds. The first round of Peacetime Emergency Child Care Grants totaling $9.8 million were awarded on April 20; the second round of grants totaling approximately $10 million were awarded on May 18. Additional funds from the federal Child Care Development Block Grant and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act will double the total available in the third round to approximately $20 million. Eligibility has also been expanded to include non-profit certified centers, which are programs that that primarily provide care for school-age children and participate in the Child Care Assistance Program.
There are approximately 420,000 children under the age of 12 who live in a household of an essential worker within a critical sector. Of these, the state estimates that, during this peacetime emergency, about 270,000 children will need care, and approximately 120,000 are likely to need and use licensed child care settings. Child care providers play a key role in enabling emergency and essential personnel to go to work.
The child care sector operates on small margins and has experienced financial strains prior to the emergence of COVID-19. These financial challenges are intensifying as revenue decreases with the governor’s Stay at Home Executive Order.
Applications for the third round of grants will be accepted from Monday, June 8 through Monday, June 15 at 5:00 p.m. Whether or not a child care program received a grant previously, they still need to complete a new application for round three.
The following child care program types are eligible to apply for a grant:
- Family and group family licensed under Minnesota Rules, chapter 9502
- Child care centers licensed under Minnesota Rules, chapter 9503; and
- Tribally licensed child care programs
Programs must also meet the following eligibility requirements:
- Have a license or certification in good standing
- May not be operating on a conditional license, under revocation, or under temporary immediate suspension
- May not be the subject of a finding of fraud
- May not be prohibited from receiving public funds under MN Statute 245.095, which requires that any provider, vendor, or individual be excluded from receiving grant funds if excluded from another DHS program
To receive a peacetime emergency child care grant, an eligible program must agree in writing to:
- Prioritize spaces in their program for children of essential workers, as identified in state guidance.
- Remain open and continue serving children for the one-month period of the grant or until the peacetime public health emergency ends, whichever is first. There is an exception for service disruptions that are necessary due to public health guidance to protect the safety and health of children and child care providers requested by the Department of Human Services or Department of Health.
- Use health and safety practices that prevent the spread of COVID-19 in a child care environment based on guidance created by the commissioner of Human Services, in consultation with the commissioner of Health. This guidance is posted on mn.gov/childcare/, the Department of Human Services website, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Not require fees from families whose children attended prior to the peacetime emergency but are no longer attending.
- Must re-enroll previously enrolled families who temporarily stopped attending their program during the peacetime emergency, provided there is sufficient capacity available and the families of the children have not violated the terms of the contract with the provider, other than terms related to the payment of fees and any required notification for disenrollment.
Selected applicants will receive an award on a month-to-month basis. Monthly grant awards start at $4,500. All providers awarded a grant are also eligible to receive an additional $1,000 per month if they meet one or more of the following criteria:
- Are open during non-standard hours (defined according to the Child Care Business Survey as open before 6 a.m., after 6 p.m., and/or on weekends), including overnights and weekends
- Serve children whose first language is other than English
- Serve children with special needs
Providers that are licensed to serve 15 or more children will be eligible for an additional amount of up to $15,500 per month. The maximum grant a provider is eligible for is up to $21,000 in one month. Providers may be eligible to receive grants for more than one month. However, grant award amounts are subject to change (increase or decrease) on a month-to-month basis.
Complete the Peacetime Emergency Child Care Grants Application. Whether or not a child care program received a grant in the previous rounds, they still need to complete a new application for Round Three. Grants are awarded based on priorities outlined in the legislation, NOT on a first-come-first-serve basis, so please take time to fill out the application carefully.
The deadline to apply is Monday, June 15, 2020 at 5:00 pm. Applicants will be notified of their grant award or denial by June 19, 2020 via the email address used in their application.
Recipients will receive their funding after the completion and return of final paperwork. Instructions for completing this step will be provided with the award notification.
If you still have questions after reviewing the Frequently Asked Questions document, please email EmergencyGrants@childcareawaremn.org or call 651.290.9704.
Need assistance in a language other than English?
- Si necesita ayuda para comprender esta carta, comuníquese con Vanessa Carrasco Berliz VCarrasco@thinksmall.org.
- Hadaad ubaahantahay caawimaad fahanka warqadan, fadlan la xiriir Abdinoor Sigat ASigat@milestonesmn.org.
- Yog tias koj xav tau kev pab nkag siab tsab ntawv no, thov hu rau Julie Yang JYang@thinksmall.org.
Data on those who have received a Peacetime Emergency Child Care Grant is public information. This information is being shared to allow transparency on grant distribution across program types and geography, to inform those seeking child care, and to inform future policy making.
If you have data related inquiries, please contact the Minnesota Department of Human Services’ Child Care Services division by sending an email to DHS.firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Awards Summary
- Administration and Scoring Rationale
- Recipient List
- Copies of the application are available on request.