Minnesota Department of Human Services awarding $3 million in grants to childcare providers
ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) is awarding nearly $3 million in grants to childcare providers across the state. The funds are coming from the federal government’s COVID relief program.
18 providers across the state are being awarded between $150,000-$180,000 to fund new training programs.
The grants are going toward smaller, in house childcare providers the DHS calls family, friend and neighbor childcare.
“It might be neighbors. It might be providers that really can help support families who many work overnight shifts and so you can’t go the traditional route,” DHS children & family services assistant commissioner Tikki Brown said.
The DHS says a lot of the time, in-house childcare providers don’t have the same access to the training and resources traditional childcare centers have.
“We really wanted to focus these funds on providers who are many a little bit more isolated or maybe don’t have as connected of a network of other providers that they can rely on,” Brown said.
So, the state is working with those who provide resources to smaller childcare providers, like Families First in Rochester.
“Everything they need to do a good job of helping out these children,” Families First Minnesota executive director Jon Losness said.
Industry leaders say the pandemic created many challenges for families and their providers.
“That has left a lot of childcare providers in short supply. They need help. They can’t find it. That is sending more parents in to looking at things like families, friends and neighbors care,” Losness said.
“When we need people to work in vital jobs, emergency room departments, nurses, doctors. We need child care to be there without pause,” Brown said.
Families First currently works with more than 100 family, friend and neighbor childcare centers in the Rochester area and plans to use the funds to help train these providers.
“They’re helping educate that child so he or she is prepared to enter the public schools and in many cases that could be learning English, learning social/emotional skills,” Losness said.
Losness says his company is already putting the grant to use. Families First hired one new employee who is already out and about helping small childcare providers get trained for the job.
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