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Child care providers look for boost during pandemic challenges

The Story

9/8/2021 – In Greater Minnesota especially, the pandemic has exacerbated existing child care shortages. Marnie Werner, the Vice President of Research and Operations at the Center for Rural Policy Development, has researched the topic extensively. Earlier this year, she wrote that “to fix child care and not just continue to patch it, we may need something akin to a Marshall Plan, which will require concentrated focus, a lot of money, and a great deal of will and commitment to get it done.” After the pandemic hit, the state began handing out emergency grants to struggling child care providers – and now there’s more money on the way through “stabilization grants.” The base grants will ramp up this month, administered by the state but drawn from federal relief funding through the American Rescue Plan Act. “They’re just going to be able to fill that gap,” Werner said, “between what families can afford to pay and what providers need to be able to charge to afford to stay in business.”