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The first few years of children’s lives are key to their intellectual, emotional and social development. Everyone wants to know that children are being well cared for while family members are at work or school. High quality child care that is available and affordable is important to children’s healthy development, and families’ self-sufficiency and peace-of-mind.
Fund plan now available for review prior to public hearing May 1
The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) seeks public comment on the proposed 2014-15 federal Child Care and Development Fund plan. A public hearing will take place on Wed., May 1, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. In order to make this public hearing as accessible as possible, and encourage members of the public to participate, DHS has organized a variety of viewing and participation options. At the May 1 hearing, presenters will refer to the following documents:
Those who participant in the public hearing from a remote location may choose to open and print these documents, as well as this presentation PowerPoint outline, in advance of the event
Recommendations inform child safety legislative proposals
Proposals to change child care licensing (PDF) to prevent deaths in child care settings are being considered by legislators this session. The governor's proposals are aimed at improving safe sleep practices, improving and subsidizing training for providers, and improving the quality and consistency of licensing oversight. The proposals came in part from a report, Review of Child Deaths in Minnesota Licensed Family Child Care Homes (PDF), which noted an increase in deaths in licensed family child care homes since 2006. Feedback on recommendations to improve child safety was provided by child care providers, parents and others in meetings held in November and December 2012 and is summarized in an online report, Themes from Stakeholders about Recommendations in Child Deaths in Licensed Family Child Care Homes (PDF).
Report analyzes professional development issues
A new report commissioned by the Minnesota Department of Human Services, Child Care Workforce in Minnesota, sheds new light on the size, stability and the demographics of those serving children in licensed family child care homes, child care centers, preschools and school-age programs. It also assesses child care providers’ needs, barriers and motivations for participating in training and professional development.
Professional associations of family child care providers surveyed
Local family child care associations throughout Minnesota were recently identified and contacted to gather information about their characteristics, the professional development opportunities they provide, their attitudes toward family child care licensing requirements and their awareness of early childhood organizations and resources. Survey findings and recommendations contained in the report, Family Child Care Associations in Minnesota, will be used to inform child care policies and programs.
Amended 2012-13 Child Care and Development Fund Plan available
Minnesota’s Child Care Development Fund Plan for FFY 2012-13 (October 1, 2011 – September 30, 2013), amended January 2012 and October 2012 is available here. The CCDF Plan attachments referred to in the plan are here. The 2012-13 Plan approval letter from the federal Department of Health and Human Services is available. In addition, a summary of community input, including letters from stakeholders, following a public hearing in May 2011 on Minnesota’s proposed 2012-13 federal Child Care and Development Fund Plan is available.
Documents provide framework for understanding developmentally appropriate expectations for children
The Minnesota Indicators of Progress is a framework for understanding and communicating a common set of developmentally appropriate expectations for children ages birth through 12. The documents make clear that responsibility for helping children meet these expectations is shared broadly among family members, early childhood teachers and providers, and community members. Comments, questions and/or requests for a printed document can be e-mailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Indicators of Progress documents include:
Study highlights challenges and choices for parents arranging child care
Minnesota families are challenged to knit together child care that fits their preferences, needs, and is affordable, according to a recent study commissioned by the Minnesota Department of Human Services and conducted by Wilder Research. Findings are summarized in a set of one-page briefs on important themes: 1) Key trends; 2) Child care hours and types of care; 3) Child care choices, quality and cost; 4) Child care for families with low incomes; 5) Family, friend and neighbor child care; 6) Child care for children with special needs; 7) Children with working parents. The complete 88-page report, Child Care Use in Minnesota: Report of the 2009 Statewide Household Child Care Survey, paints a detailed picture of child care choice, satisfaction, and affordability throughout the state. It will be used to help inform, develop and assess Minnesota’s child care policies and programs.
Early childhood quality rating and improvement system outlined
A report requested by the Minnesota Legislature from the Minnesota Departments of Human Services and Education proposes standards and indicators to measure the quality of early child care programs if a statewide system were implemented. The recently released report, An Early Childhood Quality Rating and Improvement System, also recommends ways to realign existing state and federal funding and administrative resources to implement the voluntary quality rating and improvement system framework.
Annual report highlights system for early child care providers
Minnesota Department of Human Services, in cooperation with the Department of Health and the Department of Education, developed a professional development system to enhance the quality of child care and promote success in school. The Annual Report of the Minnesota Professional Development System for Early Childhood and School-age Practitioners (2010) provides details on 25 key indicators of that effort’s progress. Future reports will provide updates and trend data on the key indicators of the PD System.
Report evaluates Family, Friend and Neighbor grant activities
A summary (PDF) and a complete report (PDF) to the Minnesota Legislature describe Minnesota's groundbreaking grants to six organizations to develop and establish programs to enhance Family, Friend and Neighbor child care and to foster community partnerships to promote school readiness. Family, Friend and Neighbor (FFN) care is a relatively new term that describes the network of relatives, close friends and neighbors who are involved with parents in the care of young children. Program evaluations and recommendations for defining, creating and supporting a community of FFN caregivers in the future are included.
Administrative alternatives explored in report
At the request of the Minnesota Legislature, the Department of Human Services (DHS) in conjunction with the Department of Education (MDE) studied issues related to the possible transition of Basic Sliding Fee Child Care, Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) Child Care and the Child Care Development grants program from DHS to MDE. The report, “Early Learning Study: Move and Standards” (PDF) also provides an update on progress toward creating a common set of standards for early child care.
Booklet provides tips for child care providers on emergency planning
A workbook for child care providers, Keeping Kids Safe (PDF), details a 10-step process for preparing to respond to various types emergencies such as natural disasters or hazardous material incidents. The first two sections of the booklet explain how to create a plan, identify potential emergency risks and obtain additional planning resources. A third section shows how to maintain the plan. A fourth section provides an outline for writing a plan to ensure child safety in these stressful and potentially dangerous situations.
Web application makes information about licensed programs easier to find
Minnesotans will have an easier time finding information on licensed providers of child care and other programs. The simple online search tool contains information from DHS’ licensing information database. Here is a link to the Licensing Information Lookup.
Groundbreaking studies examine informal child care
While the qualities of child care provided by licensed centers have been the subject of countless studies, little systematic attention has been paid to the more prevalent type of care – that provided by families, friends and neighbors (FFN). In fact, more Minnesota families use some form of FFN care on a regular basis, and many rely on it exclusively for caring for children under age 13. Previous research has shown that child care arrangements are a factor in school readiness outcomes. Meanwhile, there is interest in improving the quality and safety of government-subsidized care for children from low-income families. To better understand some of the issued involved, DHS conducted several formal studies. The following are now available:
Revised manual to help families become employed, self-sufficient
With the recently revised Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) Policy Manual, county and contracted agency child care workers will now be able to better serve families in the program. The manual, with information on policies, procedures, rules and statutes of CCAP, will provide workers with the information they need to help families in the program so they can become employed and self-sufficient. A copy of the manual is available on the department’s website.
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