Making childcare more affordable in Minnesota
The cost of childcare now averages more than 120 dollars a week. According to a March 2021 report from childcareawareofminnesota.com that childcare ranged from $173 to $140.00.
“Families are making really impossible choices. Do I go to work and then have to pay for childcare, where sometimes almost the entire paycheck is eaten up by the cost of childcare, and it doesn’t have to be that way? Too often we talk about childcare as a nice to have it is a must-have for families, and it is a must-have in a time when, you know, childcare is the backbone of the economy,” says Peggy Flanagan, Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota.
Governor Tim Walz is pushing for a budget proposal to get through the legislative that will look to make childcare across Minnesota more affordable, incentivizing the industry and providing help to hire more teachers.
“We know there are people on the sidelines right now because they’re making the decision that it is financially doesn’t make sense for them to go back to work if they have to pay more in child care than they would have going back to work. That’s keeping folks out of their career advancement, keeping our workforce not held back.”
Households making less than $200,000 with two children under the five-years-old could get up to $8,000 for childcare expenses.
“A couple of families here with two kids and that almost runs 2000 a month. Who can honestly afford that? I mean, mortgages aren’t even that high unless you can really afford something like that,” said Heidi Matteson, Director and Toddler teacher at New Hope Child Care in Duluth
Matteson added how the proposal can help parents, “I have experienced a couple of parents for quite some time. They couldn’t pay their bill, and then when I say, okay, you have to pay something. They ended up stop coming. So it’s a big deal in that aspect, and I would say probably 60% of our families here are on they have some kind of scholarship or assistance to help afford it.”
One thing to add is with affordability is also the quality of childcare and not only being able to afford it but getting good care while children are being cared for throughout the day and weeks.