2022 POLICY AGENDA

The Start Early Funders Coalition’s will lead the 2022 legislative session with a racial equity lens on all endorsed public policies. We prioritize policies that will benefit low-income children and families as well as Black, Indigenous and children of color and their families; and the programs that serve them.

EARLY CARE & EDUCATION PROFESSIONALS AND THE WORKFORCE:

Support policies that improve recruiting and retaining early care and education professionals through improved compensation, healthcare and other benefits, and professional development resources. This includes loan forgiveness, TEACH scholarships, and expanded CDA accessibility. During the pandemic and post pandemic support additional strategies including mental health support, stabilization grants, essential worker pay/hazard pay, tax credits, and REETAIN bonuses are additional short-term solutions to support compensation practices. (Aligned with MN ECE Transforming the Workforce, Kids Count on US, MCCA, GTCUW)

Increase support and resources for Family, Friend and Neighbor Care (FFN) through professional development opportunities and access to other supports including COVID-19 related resources and technology needs. (Aligned with P3 Coalition, Voices and Choices Coalition)

DEPARTMENT OF EARLY CHILDHOOD:

Form a new Department of Early Learning/Early Childhood to streamline and consolidate early childhood services, programming, and funding. This department will create accountability and attention for all early childhood programs. (Aligned with ISAIAH, MCCA, Prenatal to 3 Coalition)

COMMUNITY WELLNESS & MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORTS:

Support the mental wellbeing of children, families and early care and education professionals throughout the pandemic, and as our state recovers. Increase resources and improve access to community advised, culturally responsive, trauma-informed care beginning prenatally through early childhood to improve health, early learning and other outcomes. (Aligned with P3 Coalition, GTCUW)

INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT:

Increase investment to develop new early childhood facilities and expansion or improvement of current early childhood facilities.

 COMPREHENSIVE PACKAGE TO INCREASE ACCESS TO HIGH QUALITY EARLY CARE AND EDUCATION:

Provide consistent and dedicated funds to support a robust early childhood system that gives children and families access to a continuum of high-quality early care and education programs. A broad range of program types supported with prioritized state and federal funding is required to support an economically sustainable early childhood ecosystem and for our state’s economic recovery. We must maintain and continue to grow investments in critical early childhood programs based on ongoing community feedback and guidance:

FEDERAL FUNDING AND STATE COMPLIANCE

Support a stable transition to implementing new Federal support for childcare programs and Pre-K funding. Support the findings of the Great Start Task Force. (Aligned with MCCA, Crisis Work Group, CDF, Prenatal to 3 Coalition)

 CHILD CARE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (CCAP)

Support provisions of federal reauthorization for the state’s Child Care Assistance Program to serve more eligible families and their children at the 75th percentile. (Aligned with ISAIAH, MCCA, GTCUW)

 EARLY LEARNING SCHOLARSHIPS

Increase investments and increase flexibility for early learning scholarships that meet the needs of children from low-income households from the ages birth to five years old, prioritizing those with the highest needs. (Aligned with Crisis Work Group)

 PARENT AWARE

Continue to fully fund Parent Aware throughout Minnesota with a priority on strengthening the incorporation and recognition of culturally relevant teaching and trauma-informed care. (Aligned with Crisis Work Group)

 HOME VISITING

Increase funding and access to targeted home visiting programs to ensure culturally, linguistically, and geographically diverse programs are available to meet complex needs of families. (Aligned with Targeted Home Visiting Coalition, GTCUW)

KINDERGARTEN ENTRY PROFILE

Implement consistent and reliable source of child assessment into kindergarten. This is critical element to understanding connection between equitable early learning and educational success in K-12 settings. (Aligned with Crisis Work Group)

COMMUNITY SOLUTIONS FUND

Use permanent state investments, federal COVID relief and state budget surplus to fully fund and establish the Community Solutions for Healthy Child Development Grant Program beyond a pilot. Support and monitor the racial and geographical equitable implementation of the Community Solutions Grant Program, administered by the Minnesota Department of Health, Center for Health Equity. Voices and Choices worked with many stakeholders to advocate for the creation of this grant program because we know that communities closest to the problems are also closest to the solutions but are furthest from the resources. (Aligned with Voices & Choices Coalition)