I’m a child care provider who’s worked in the business for 20 years to provide a safe and caring environment for young children to learn and grow. Child care has always been essential for families across Minnesota — no matter what we look like or what’s in our wallets, and continues to be during the pandemic. Years of chronic underfunding coupled with the added cost of pandemic safety measures have pushed many centers and families to the brink.
Even before the pandemic, directors were struggling to pay our teachers what they’re worth, let alone above the poverty line. Many I know took pay cuts rather than close their doors. The gaps in funding are covered not only by providers but also families. With child care often more expensive than college tuition, many families are on waitlists for years or make just over the maximum income to receive assistance excluding them from the care they need.
Thanks to the governor’s leadership in providing state funding, many centers have stayed afloat. But this will end on Dec. 31, and without this vital support I don’t know how we will continue. We are working tirelessly to ensure that the next generation of Minnesotans has the child care they need, and our legislators need to support us in this difficult time and beyond by fully funding child care.
If everyone including the wealthiest Minnesotans pitch in our fair share, there is enough to fund the care we all need.
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