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News & Press: Policy & Advocacy

Economic Forecast, CCDF Plan, Policy Hour and More

Friday, December 18, 2015   (0 Comments)
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Economic Forecast Sets the Stage for Budget Discussions

The forecast projects a $1.2 billion positive balance for the current biennium. As required by law, $594 million will be transferred to the state’s budget reserve.

Minnesota’s economy continues to perform better than the national economy, but many Minnesotans are not seeing the benefits of this strong economy. The Governor has indicated his interest in addressing racial disparities. We strongly agree and we will be at the Capitol talking with legislators about how investing in quality early childhood and afterschool is a key piece in any package that will provide equity in all areas of our economy, education and community.

The even numbered years typically are for bonding projects, but because legislators and the Governor left last session with many issues undone (early childhood, transportation, & taxes), this will feel more like a budget year.

The next look at budget numbers that policymakers and the Governor will use to form their budgets will be released in February.

CCDF Plan Public Comment

Please note: This plan is a framework that the state provides the federal government about how MN will implement the new law. There is very little detail in the plan. The majority of the requirements will need to be passed by the legislature and the Governor in the next legislative session and more detail about implementation will be included in the language of the bills. We are working closely with the Department on the rollout of key pieces of the law, including the new requirement to inspect legally non-licensed programs. Stay tuned!

On Nov. 19, 2014, the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014 became law, reauthorizing the Child Care and Development Fund for the first time in 18 years. This reauthorization made changes to protect the health and safety of children in child care, promote continuity of access to subsidy for low-income families, better inform parents and the general public about child care choices, and improve the overall quality of early care and education.

The 2016–18 Child Care and Development Fund Plan describes how the grant will be administered by each state, from Jun. 1, 2016 through Sep. 30, 2018. The Minnesota Department of Human Services is the lead agency administrating our state’s CCDF Plan. The plan identifies program and policy changes, which will need to be implemented in order to comply with changes to federal law. Please note, however, that many of these changes will require approval by the Minnesota Legislature prior to implementation.

Official Comment Period

We encourage you to review and provide input on the proposed 2016–18 CCDF Plan and attachments during the official comment period, from Dec. 11, 2015 through Jan. 11, 2016. Official comments may be submitted using our CCDF Plan comment form or by mail to Child Development Services, Minnesota Department of Human Services, P.O. Box 64962, St. Paul, MN 55164-0962. The official comment period is part of a process to finalize our 2016–18 CCDF Plan. The final CCDF Plan will be submitted to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in March 2016.

Please email if you have questions about the plan.

Join us at Policy Hour in 2016

Need a New Year’s resolution? Join Minnesota’s Future at Policy Hour each month! This is your opportunity to connect with other professionals and learn about current policy issues in an informal setting.

Policy Hour is held every first Tuesday of the month October 2015 through June 2016 from Noon-1:00 p.m. at Think Small
(2021 East Hennepin Avenue | Suite 250, Minneapolis, MN 55413).

No RSVP required.
Invite your friends and coworkers! Bring your lunch!

Tuesday, January 5
We will hear from the Department of Human Services about the Child Care Development Block Grant plan. This plan describes how the state proposes to meet the new federal law governing child care assistance. The new law makes changes to protect the health and safety of children in child care, promote continuity of access to subsidy for low-income families, better inform parents and the general public about child care choices, and improve the overall quality of early care and education.

Tuesday, February 2
We will hear from Ben Horowitz, a Policy Advocate at the Minnesota Budget Project, who will discuss the ins and outs of the state budget process, including the November state budget forecast, and how you can get involved to shape future budgets. The organizations of the Minnesota's Future coalition will also share their 2016 legislative agendas and a session preview.

ESSA Passes Congress and Signed by President

With significant bipartisan support, Congress passed and the President signed the Every Student Succeeds Act, previously known as No Child Left Behind. Thanks to the hard work of legislators and advocates, the bill recognizes and elevates the importance of early learning and afterschool in our education system.

Early childhood language is weaved throughout the bill, including a Preschool Development Grant program that provides $250 million annually to help states and communities plan, coordinate and expand their early childhood programs for low-income children. The new legislation transfers significant authority to the states to create accountability systems and to ensure that all children have the support they need to be successful in school.  

The legislation also includes the Senate bill’s language strengthening and reauthorizing the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative that funds local school-community partnerships and provides millions of students and families with access to quality afterschool and summer learning programs.
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