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CARE (Child Care Advocates Ready to Emerge) Fellowship
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Due to financial impacts from COVID-19, the organizations that support the CARE Fellowship are unable to move forward with a new cohort this fall. We're very sorry! We hope to return in the fall of 2021.  


A Public Policy and Leadership Learning Cohort

The CARE Public Policy Fellowship aims to provide early childhood development and school-age care professionals an opportunity to connect the dots between early childhood development and school-age care public policy and the daily work of caring for and supporting children and families. Nearly 300 individuals from throughout Minnesota have graduated from the CARE Fellowship since 2006.

Participants will learn how they can be effective advocates for the early childhood and afterschool fields when engaging and educating policymakers at all levels of government. Advocacy is about changing the conversation and defining the debate. Participants will learn how to use their voice and share their story to impact change.

The CARE Fellowship is approved in Develop! However, this is approved as a face-to-face training, and will only be given if we're able to meet face-to-face. Participants can add 4 hours to their learning record for each session attended.

Check out our Frequently Asked Questions before filling out the application.


CARE Fellowship History

In 2006, the Katie Williams CARE (Child Care Advocates Ready to Emerge) Fellowship was created by Child Care WORKS in honor of longtime children's advocate Katie L. Williams.

Beginning in 2013, a collaborative of child care and early learning organizations came together to continue the legacy of the CARE Fellows: Child Care Aware of Minnesota, Minnesota Association for the Education of Young Children–Minnesota School-Age Care Alliance, Minnesota Child Care Association, and Think Small.

Program Description

The CARE (Child Care Advocates Ready to Emerge) Fellowship is an opportunity for participants to:

  • Take time each month to explore public policy topics that impact child care and children in Minnesota
  • Strengthen your understanding of the early childhood and school-age care system in Minnesota
  • Connect with other advocates from various sectors of the early childhood and school-age care fields
  • Develop confidence in your leadership abilities
  • Discover new ways to advocate for Minnesota children
  • Engage with policymakers and field experts

Each session will be led by an informed early childhood and/or school-age care leader and will draw on Minnesota experts to share the latest news, research and strategies to improve early childhood public policy.

Topics that will be covered include:

  • Understanding the early learning system
  • Racial equity in the early years
  • Early childhood and afterschool as a social justice issue
  • Minnesota legislative process
  • Telling personal stories
  • Effective legislative meetings
  • Community organizing
  • Using social media
  • Personal leadership style
  • Emerging educational issues

Program Activities

Gatherings: Fellows meet 9 times, once a month, from October 2020-June 2021, for an all-day workshop. We will meet the second Friday of the month, October-December, except December, which will be the first Friday. We will meet the third Friday of the month, January-June, except in March, when we'll meet the third Wednesday.

We are monitoring COVID-19 closely, and will determine whether these sessions will be face-to-face, virtual or a hybrid closer to the first session in October. If face-to-face, sessions will be held in the Twin Cities metro area.
CLASS 15 Gatherings

  • October 9, 2020
  • November 13, 2020
  • December 4, 2020 (State Capitol, St. Paul)
  • January 15, 2021
  • February 19, 2021
  • Wednesday, March 17, 2021 (State Capitol, St. Paul)
  • April 16, 2021
  • May 21, 2021
  • June 18, 2021

The Policy Project: Each participant makes a contribution to the early childhood field and/or afterschool field by completing an individual policy project during the Fellowship. The project is part of the Fellows’ present work or moves the Fellow in a new direction.

Program Commitment

We ask each participant to commit to:

  • Attend all 9, all-day workshops. Participants should also expect an additional 1-2 hours of work each month.
  • Complete a policy project and present it
  • Complete monthly evaluations
  • Develop and maintain a relationship after the Fellowship with the CARE Collaborative & fellow Fellows


Past Participant Testimonies

"Talking to legislators, going to committee hearings, and testifying on a bill were all things I never saw myself doing, even though I had an interest in them. I'm proud of how far I've come because of pushing myself to sign up for this Fellowship and challenging myself to step out of my comfort zone."

"When I first heard about the CARE Fellowship I didn’t know what to expect. I have never been overly interested in politics, and words like 'Policy,' 'Legislature' and 'Session' used to fly right over my head. However, when the opportunity to apply for the program arose I didn’t hear any of those words. I heard 'Leadership,' 'Community,' 'Passion' and 'Dedication to Early Childhood.' Now those are things I know! Being a part of the CARE Fellowship has broadened my perspective and helped me understand the different avenues of early childhood. Learning that there are so many people and organizations who are all surrounded around a common goal has been enlightening in so many ways. Then to come together as a united front to make a real difference towards that goal has been one of the most empowering experiences of my career."

"I was not sure at the beginning if this would be something for me-I am SO glad that I stuck it out. The experience has inspired growth and the continuous building of a wonderful network of people."

"Thank you so much for this amazing experience!! It has changed my life and provided great direction for me in my interest of policy and advocacy!"

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