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Financial Rewards for Committed Professionals

REETAIN Bonuses reward early childhood educators who have demonstrated a commitment to the field by continuing their education and professional development. REETAIN Bonuses can be used for program supplies, training, or personal expenses.

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We offer two different REETAIN Bonuses: one for center-based educators and one for family child care educators. Bonuses are awarded annually and range from $1,000 - $3,500. They can be used to cover professional or personal expenses. REETAIN Bonuses are awarded based on education, and state/federal priorities as funds allow. Awardees receive half of their bonuses after maintaining employment for six months and the remainder after another six-month period.


Applicants must:

  • Be licensed to provide child care in Minnesota or work for a licensed Minnesota child care program
  • Work directly with children at least 30 hours per week
  • Be in their current position for at least one year as of the first day of the application round
  • Be willing to stay in their current position for one year after receiving a bonus
  • Have a Career Lattice Step of six or higher
  • Have a current Develop membership
  • NOT be a current T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship recipient
  1. Compile the supporting documents listed below:
    • Your DHS Licensing Learning Record from Develop, which must include
      • a current Develop Membership
      • a Career Lattice Step of at least 6 or higher
      • employment that is verified and includes start date and age group(s)
    • Proof of income
      • A copy of your previous year Schedule C tax form (from your Form 1040) and a copy of your current DHS Family Child Care License if you are a family child care educator
      • A copy of your current pay statement if you work in a child care center
    • Optional documents for additional points
      • A Parent Aware Star Rating certificate (preferred) OR accreditation certificate
      • One membership card from a professional organization
      • Achieve Trainer certificate, OR consultant verification, OR mentor verification
  2. Apply online by selecting the correct form below during the application period:

You may upload supporting documents in JPEG or PDF format to your online application or mail them to:

Child Care Aware of Minnesota
10 River Park Plaza
Suite 820
St. Paul, MN 55107


How often is REETAIN available?

Annually, but you cannot be awarded the bonus two years in a row. Family child care educators can apply during the fall round (October – November) and center-based providers can apply during the spring round (April – May), if they did not receive a bonus the previous year.


Do I need to re-apply and re-submit supporting documents even if I have applied for REETAIN in the past?

Yes, you must complete a new application and re-submit all supporting documents. This ensures that all information is up-to-date.


How much money could I receive?

The grant amounts awarded are based your education level. The breakdown is as follows:

Career Lattice Steps 6, 7, 8, and 9a $1,000
Career Lattice Steps 9b, 9c, 9d, and 10a $2,000
Career Lattice Steps 10b, 10c, and 10d $3,000
Career Lattice Steps 11 and 12 $3,500


What are my chances of receiving a bonus?

Two primary factors affect your chance of receiving a bonus: The total number of applicants and the score you receive in the review process. The total number of applicants will vary each round. Approximately 40 percent of all eligible applicants are awarded a bonus.


How are REETAIN Bonus applications scored?

Each application is reviewed and scored by at least two Child Care Aware of Minnesota staff members. The applications are scored on years of service in your current position, income, level of education, amount of verified training taken during the previous calendar year, and participation in professional activities such as Parent Aware, accreditation, or membership in professional organizations.

Applications are only scored if all required information and documents are submitted.

Develop Learning Record information is used to score the Career Lattice Step, which reflects your level of education. Learning Record information is also used to score years of service, age group priorities, and training hours. It is extremely important to update your Develop Membership with accurate and complete education and employment information before applying for a REETAIN Bonus.


How can I improve my score?

The best way to impact your score is to take approved training that will be added to your Learning Record each year. For a list of training available through the Child Care Aware of Minnesota system, visit the Develop website.

Training is scored according to the total number of verified hours listed on your DHS Licensing Learning Record for the previous calendar year. Points are given according to the following chart:

Center Staff Points Family Child Care Points
40-45 hours 3 16-20 hours 3
46-50 hours 8 21-25 hours 8
51-55 hours 12 26-30 hours 12
more than 55 hours 15 more than 30 hours 15


Demonstrated leadership skills will also help improve your score. The following criteria are worth 2 points for each category:

  • Mentoring, training, or consulting
  • Working in a Parent Aware Rated or a nationally accredited program
  • Belonging to a professional organization
  • Working with infants and/or toddlers (this is a federal priority)


If awarded, when do I get the money?

Award emails are sent by December 20 (family child care) and June 20 (center-based educators). Award emails will include a contract and W9 tax form to be signed and returned immediately. The bonus will be dispersed in two equal installments. Awardees receive half of their bonus after maintaining employment for six months and the remainder after another six-month period. For example, if you are awarded $2,000 in December, you will be paid $1,000 in June and $1,000 the following December.


Are there restrictions on how I spend my bonus? Do I need to report my spending?

The money can be spent however you wish. There are no reporting requirements. We will ask you to fill out an anonymous survey about the process, which may include a question on how you spent the money. This information is used for statistical purposes only.


Why do I have to give you my Social Security number?

If you are awarded a REETAIN Bonus, we need your Social Security number to generate a Form 1099-MISC for tax purposes. Your information is confidential. All documents containing personal information will be destroyed when we no longer need them.

You will need to report your bonus as income to the IRS. As required by the IRS, we will send you a Form 1099-MISC in January if you received more than $600 in the previous year.


How is my information kept confidential and secure?

Online forms and documents submitted to our Grants department are received and processed only by Child Care Aware of Minnesota staff who need the information to complete their assigned work related to your submission. Documents are electronically filed on a secure server that is owned and maintained by Child Care Aware of Minnesota. Additionally, all staff are required to complete DHS Data Privacy Training annually.


What if I get a bonus, but then quit or lose my job?

Please notify of any employment changes. If you have already received funding, you may be required to repay it. You will not receive any future payments.


Are directors eligible for REETAIN?

Directors are not usually eligible for REETAIN. However, if a director works at least 30 hours a week as a classroom teacher as noted on a DHS Licensing Learning Record, they would then be eligible for a REETAIN bonus.


How will I know if Child Care Aware has received my application and supporting documents?

When your complete application is received by our office, you will receive an email to notify you. Individuals who submit an incomplete application will receive an email 10 business days before the application deadline to inform them that their application is incomplete and what is required to complete it. Although we strive to provide technical assistance, we cannot guarantee that we will catch all mistakes. We are unable to provide technical assistance individuals who submit an incomplete application within 10 days of the end of the round. If you have not received a notification, you can email to inquire about your application.