KeepHealthCare.ORG – South Central College Hosts Town Hall on Childcare Shortage in Minnesota
Parents, providers and local politicians met at South Central College Wednesday night for a town hall meeting regarding Minnesota’s growing childcare shortage.
According to a report by the Minnesota Center for rural policy and development, the number of licensed in–home family child care providers decreased by more than one quarter (27%) across the state. Which comes out to about 36,500 children without child care.
Some lawmakers blame overregulation at the state level for the center closures.
“There’s just been over–burdensome regulations that we want to try and roll back and make sure that we write rules that make sense, that can be enforced and protect the children and the providers so that they can go about their business.” said Rep. Jeremy Munson (R-Lake Crystal).
Along with overregulation, certain providers feel there is a lack of clarity when it comes to understanding requirements set by the Minnesota Department of Health and Human Services.
“There are citations in compiled data that is public that my colleague and I compiled for a stick in the yard or water stains in the sink,” said Elizabeth Bangert of Here We Grow Childcare Center. “So it’s really hard to know what actually qualifies as a violation.”
Another challenge for the state is finding a balance between child care centers and in–home family child care.
Nearly 70% of Greater Minnesota’s child care is through in–home centers, whereas in the metro, it’s 70% child care centers which limits capacity in rural areas according to the report.
“It’s obviously a crisis, we have people who can’t take jobs because they don’t have child care providers,” said Kim Spears, Republican candidate for the vacant District 19A House seat. “It’s just an economic burden and it’s a burden for families in their own personal budgets and economies.”
Wednesday’s town hall was made up of all republican panelists although members of the DFL were invited but couldn’t attend due to scheduling conflicts.