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News & Press: Policy & Advocacy

Emergency Child Care Grants Pass State Legislature

Thursday, March 26, 2020  
Posted by: Lara Richardson
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We’re pleased to report that the MN House and Senate passed a $330 million relief package today, of which $30 million is for emergency child care grants. The Governor plans to sign the bill.

The grants are available to licensed child care centers, family child care providers, and tribally licensed child care programs who prioritize care for essential workers. Programs must remain open during the grant period or until the peacetime emergency ends. Programs must use health and safety practices that prevent the spread of COVID-19. Programs can collect fees from families currently attending, but programs cannot collect fees from families who were attending before the Governor’s initial executive order who are no longer attending the program.

An eligible program:

1) may receive a monthly grant award $4,500.

2) may receive an additional monthly grant of $1,000 if the program serves children:

     (1) during nonstandard hours, including overnight and on weekends;

     (2) whose first language is not English;

     (3) who have special needs.

3) that is licensed to serve 15 or more children may receive an additional monthly grant not to exceed $15,500. The additional grant amount must be based on a provider's capacity to serve children during the declared peacetime public health emergency.

Child Care Aware will be administering the grants, and more information about how to apply will be available soon.

While this funding is a critical first step, we will continue to urge the Governor and the legislature to provide needed supports for programs that have already closed, including supports for faith-based programs who are exempt from contributing to unemployment, and so are unable to access those benefits.

We are also continuing to read and absorb through the entire bill, and will share other funding opportunities that are helpful to programs.

Minnesota Initiative Foundations to Serve Emergency Child Care Need in Greater MN and Think Small to Serve in Metro

From the Governor’s Children’s Cabinet

Six Minnesota Initiative Foundations (MIFs) will launch an Emergency Child Care Grant Program to provide financial support to licensed child care providers in Greater Minnesota serving families of essential workers needed to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. They join Think Small, who last week began issuing grants to family child care programs in the metro area serving families of emergency workers.

The six MIFs committed $50,000 each for a total of $300,000 dedicated for Greater Minnesota child care providers and are working to secure additional resources from other partners. Think Small has issued $100,000 to date.

Licensed family- and center-based providers caring for children of emergency and essential workers are invited to apply for grants. The Minnesota Initiative Foundations will award grants of up to $3,000 in their respective service regions. To be eligible, providers must be caring for the children (ages birth to 5 years) of essential and emergency workers. Think Small’s similar grant opportunity is for providers within the seven-county metropolitan area.

For more information about the Minnesota Initiative Foundations or this grant program, visit or to learn about Think Small and its program visit

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