By Cisa Keller, Senior Vice President of Early Childhood Quality Development
The April Policy Hour focused on Coronavirus Early Childhood Updates.
Children’s Cabinet Update
Stephanie Hogenson, Policy Director for the Governor’s Children’s Cabinet, joined the webinar to share what the Governor’s Children’s Cabinet is doing to support child care providers during the COVID-19 crisis and to highlight how thankful the administration is for the essential work of child care throughout Minnesota. The state has developed a website, www.mn.gov/childcare, as a one stop place for information relevant to child care providers. Information includes a survey and map of child care providers who are currently open and their availability for families. In addition, there is a list of resources, such as access to supplies and small business supports. This website is updated on a regular basis as new information becomes available.
Peacetime Emergency Grants
Next up was Ann McCully, Executive Director of Child Care Aware of Minnesota. She shared information about the state’s $30 million Peacetime Emergency Grants. Applications are now available, and the first round of applications must be submitted by April 15th. Applications can be submitted online or by paper. Eligibility details and Frequently Asked Questions can be found HERE. As of April 4th over 5,000 applications have been received.
Finally, Christa Anders, Coordinator, Transforming Minnesota’s Early Childhood Workforce, shared other efforts happening across the state to support the business of child care. In particular she highlighted the significant role our philanthropic organizations are playing in the COVID-19 crisis. The Minnesota Council on Foundations has created a Minnesota Disaster Relief fund, supported by over 40 organizations. They have released over $6 million. The first $2 million dispersed to grantees included the Minnesota Initiative Foundations (MIFs) ($600,000) and Think Small ($200,000) toward child care provider relief. Both Think Small and the MIFs have seen a significant number of applications and have fully awarded their funds at this time. As additional funds are identified additional grant awards will be made. In addition to these efforts, Christa highlighted the multiple efforts Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation is doing with existing and new funds to support the state’s child care community.
Overall, the conversation emphasized what we all know…child care has always been an essential service, but this current crisis has highlighted this importance.