MANKATO, Minnesota — A new report from the Center for Rural Policy and Development examines the child care crisis in Greater Minnesota and how different communities are addressing it.
Child care capacity in rural Minnesota has been on a steady trajectory downward since the early 2000s, according to the report.
Family (in-home) child care providers in Greater Minnesota are leaving the field at a faster rate than people entering it; they provide a bulk of child care in rural regions.
"There is no silver bullet to this. No one is going to come along and rescue anybody unless something extremely major happens," said Marnie Werner, vice president of research and operations at the Center. Read more.
Child care businesses in Greater Minnesota are losing employees faster than they’re gaining new ones, and it’s exacerbating existing worker shortages and limiting care options for parents in rural communities.
That’s one of the main takeaways from a Tuesday report issued by the Mankato-based Center for Rural Policy and Development (CRPD). The report is partially the result of a fall 2021 survey of economic development officials, local leaders, and other stakeholders around the state involved in child care and child care policy. Read more.
At Little Learners Center in Ada, Minnesota, owner Karen DeVos struggles with securing a permanent staff at her child care center. “It’s difficult finding a workforce who wants to stay in this field where it’s high stress, it’s a lot of work, it’s different every day. And while our wages are competitive, you can go to another job and earn something similar and not have to worry about taking your job home with you,” DeVos said.
DeVos was among a group of child care advocates who spoke last week during a virtual gathering organized by the Center for Rural Policy and Development. Child care providers discussed the various challenges they are facing with their businesses and organizations and called on elected officials and members of the public for help. Read more.
The country is in the midst of a burnout crisis. In a recent American Psychological Association Work and Well-Being Survey, large proportions of American workers said that they felt stressed on the job (79 percent), plagued by physical fatigue (44 percent), cognitive weariness (36 percent), emotional exhaustion (32 percent), and a lack of interest, motivation, or energy (26 percent). Such measures are up significantly since the pandemic hit. Read more.
Waiting lists are getting longer, and child care centers say they’re losing workers to fast-food chains with better wages and benefits.
On the Senate floor in early August, just two days before lawmakers voted to pass the Inflation Reduction Act, four senior Democrats came out to lament what they believed to be the bill’s biggest omission: child care.
“We cannot simply vote on this package and call it a day,” Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) said. “Our child care system isn’t just stretched thin; it is broken.”
Less than two months later, the extent of that brokenness is clearer than ever. Public schools are fully reopened, and most pandemic-era restrictions are relaxed. But working conditions for families with kids who need child care are not back to normal. For both workers and parents, already-grim trends in child care have only gotten worse since the pandemic began: program costs have increased, while waiting lists in several states number in the tens of thousands. Read more.
While there is much to celebrate about the Inflation Reduction Act, one group was left on the outside looking in: parents with young children. Child care, once thought a likely inclusion, was cut from the final reconciliation package. Although Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has pledged to “keep fighting” on child care, there is no clear plan to save a dying sector relied on by millions of parents. The good news is that a viable bipartisan path has already been laid out. Read more.
Megan Taylor was expecting child-care help. Taylor and her husband, a Navy doctor, live in San Diego. As a military family, they are eligible for a low-cost slot at the on-base child-development center or, failing that, assistance paying for a community program. But Taylor’s son has been on various wait lists for 21 months—since before he was born. He’s 15 months old.
The San Diego Union-Tribune recently reported that a staggering 4,000-plus families like Taylor’s are on the Navy’s waiting list in San Diego alone. The problem is not isolated to one branch or base. The fact that military families are struggling so badly to find care for their kids is a keeled-over canary for the rest of us; the military’s child-care system is often held up as America’s best-case scenario. Read more.
The passage of the Inflation Reduction Act may have been a win for Democrats and President Biden on climate, the US economy and prescription drugs, but for women it falls short of its potential on key policies.
The Democrats’ ambitious plans at points included universal pre-kindergarten, lower child care costs, paid family and sick leave and the enhanced child tax credit, among other provisions, but those were ultimately eliminated during negotiations. Those cuts became the ninth time in just two and a half years where proposed legislation aimed at helping women and families have been removed, according to a CNN analysis of data from the Congressional Budget Office and Congressional Research Reports.
Paid family leave alone has been trimmed down or dropped five different times since March 2020. Read more.
A recent commentary, "Minnesota's child care crisis is government-made" (Aug. 1), paints a dramatically incomplete picture of the challenges facing the early care and education (ECE) sector. In arguing for loosening health and safety regulations, it takes a simplistic approach that ignores the research-backed benefits.
We couldn't agree more that access to high-quality ECE is fundamental to a well-functioning economy. As members of the Governor's Council on Economic Expansion, we note that our recent report, "Minnesota's Moment: A roadmap for equitable economic expansion" argues that increasing access to child care all across Minnesota is essential to creating a thriving economy in the next 10 years. Read more.
At this time, the risk of monkeypox to children and adolescents in the United States is low. However, this page answers frequently asked questions about monkeypox for administrators and staff of K-12 schools, early care and education (ECE) programs, camps, and other community settings serving children or adolescents (for example, sports leagues and after-school programs). ECE programs may include center-based childcare, family childcare, Head Start, or other early learning, early intervention and preschool/pre-kindergarten programs delivered in schools, homes, or other community settings. This information may also be helpful to parents who have questions about monkeypox.
Institutions of higher education (IHE) can prepare by understanding the guidance on congregate settings and by being sure their student health center is aware of the guidance for healthcare professionals.
A general overview and further information on monkeypox can be found on the Monkeypox Frequently Asked Questions page. Signs and symptoms of monkeypox are also described.
Click here for additional information.
© 2023 Minnesota Child Care Association (MCCA). All Rights Reserved