“The daycare issue is an ongoing issue and there is no magic bullet,” said DFL State Representative Jeff Brand of St. Peter.
A 2017 Center for Rural Policy report estimates that there is a shortage of nearly 9,000 child care slots in southern Minnesota and licensed child care capacity would have to grow by 27% in order to fill it.
Brand is working to lower that number, with a bill to create a grant program for new facilities, “Which would provide $10 million for in-home providers and entrepreneurs to develop a center-based business model to open up some slots for daycare.”
Last year, a study showed that licensing and overregulation in the child care industry was one factor of the shortage, and DFL Representative Jack Considine of Mankato is mulling over dropping a proposal to change the state’s approach to inspections.
“Quit calling the people inspectors or examiners and start calling them coaches and mentors,” he said, “They need to get on board with the idea that they are there to help make daycare work, not to try to find things that are wrong.”
In addition to the impact it has on parents, children, and employers the greater Minnesota lawmakers added that the child care shortage also impacts the rural economy.