Walz proposes $56.6 million to help support Minnesota child care providers

Financial relief could be on the way to child care providers in Minnesota hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Governor Tim Walz announced a proposal Tuesday that would help thousands of small businesses.

“What these grants are meant to do is to offset the added cost of the protections in these child care centers,” he said.

Gov. Walz laid out a $56.6 million proposal to help support Minnesota child care providers during the pandemic.

“These grants are not going to make folks whole. They are only going to do the things we need to to make sure that we continue the safety,” he said.

The funding would bring relief to providers experiencing increased costs. Angela Kapp, Director of the Learning Garden in St. Paul said with attendance down, the child center has lost around $100,000 in revenue since March. 

“We realized that we need to have a plan for this uncertainty,” Kapp said. 

Around 6,000 home child care providers and 11,000 child care centers would be eligible for grants ranging from $1,200 to more than $8,500 per month.

“This grant that Governor Walz is proposing will really help us with that, to be able to make sure that we have the staff that we need, that we can continue to grow and serve the families in our community,” she said.

The governor admits there's still a long road ahead.

“We’ve got a long way to go, but I think that our commitment to child care providers, to our centers, to our home based businesses has to be strong; there’s no way we can get the economy fully back up and going.”

Eligible providers will receive a grant paid out over three months. Among several requirements, providers need to have been open and caring for children as of June 15. The request for funding was submitted to lawmakers at the beginning of the month and is still awaiting approval.