With Federal Funding Ending, Minnesota Steps Up with Great Start Compensation Support Program says Senator Melissa H. Wiklund

2023 session included significant support for child care needs across Minnesota

SAINT PAUL, Minn. – As federal funding in the form of Child Care Stabilization Grants comes to an end on September 30, Minnesota will step up to fill this gap with a new, innovative, state-led solution as the Great Start Compensation Support Program comes online. This program will provide $316.1 million in direct payments to eligible child care providers to increase their compensation and benefits.

“Federal funding has been essential to stabilizing our critical child care infrastructure in Minnesota, but we knew this funding would come to an end,” said Senator Melissa H. Wiklund, Chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. “We also know this is only one facet of an ongoing child care crisis across the nation, but the action we’ve taken by creating the Great Start Compensation Support Program is an important step to address this looming and significant funding cliff.”

The Great Start Compensation Support program will provide direct payments to eligible child care providers to increase their compensation and benefits, helping to provide a livable wage to an industry where most of the workers are women. The child care workforce also employs more people of color than many other industries, with 23% workers being Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. Child care workers who provide education and care in a variety of settings will be eligible for this program, including licensed family child care homes and center-based care.

“While other states are now scrambling to take action, we were proactive, and now our innovative, first in the nation program will help provide stability for Minnesotans,” added Senator Wiklund. “We made child care a priority in 2023, and I will continue to focus on child care and taking future steps to address affordability, access, and workforce challenges.”  

The Great Start Compensation Support Program was one of several major child care related pieces passed by the Senate DFL in 2023. Additional legislation to address child care issues facing Minnesota included (figures in parentheses are over the 2 year biennium): 

  • Basic Sliding Fee Program Updates ($30.5 million)
  • Funding for Local Community Child care through DEED ($10 million)
  • Minnesota Initiative Foundations ($5 million)
  • Increasing Rates for the Child Care Access Program (CCAP)($146.4M)
  • Establishing a Department of Children, Youth, and Families 
  • Office of Child Care Community Partnerships at DEED 
  • Child Care for Caregivers Seeking Mental Health Services
  • REETAIN Grants
  • Family, Friend, and Neighbor Grant Program
  • Establishing and Funding an Early Childhood Apprenticeship Grant Program
  • Shared Services Alliance Grant Program


Senator Melissa Wiklund
Melissa Wiklund represents District 51, which includes portions of Bloomington and Richfield in the southern Twin Cities metropolitan area.

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