A bill heard in the Human Services Reform Committee this week would guarantee more families have access to a vital childcare assistance program for years to come. Last year, to increase access to childcare assistance, temporary changes were made on how to prioritize families on the basic sliding fee childcare assistance waiting list. These changes have already dramatically reduced waiting lists across the state, allowing more families to get the support they need to go to work or school. The bill heard in committee would make these changes permanent.
The Basic Sliding Fee program can help families pay for childcare while they look for work, go to work, or attend training or school to prepare for work. Unlike other childcare assistance programs, basic sliding fee receives a capped appropriation. Because of this, not everyone who is eligible for assistance receives it and families are placed on a waiting list if funds are insufficient.
Many families without any access to childcare support reported long wait times with the previous prioritization requirements. Making these changes permanent is a priority for families and counties, who say the number of families waiting for help will increase if this bill doesn’t pass.
Senate DFLers will continue to advocate for commonsense solutions that increase the availability of affordable childcare for Minnesota families. (SF 3379)