Editorial: Less expensive childcare options needed in Minneapolis, UMN

Daily Editorial Board

With Minneapolis experiencing its largest growth rate since the 1920s, we can expect both blessings and complications. These complications include implementing affordable housing for all types of citizens. In a city that is already experiencing a large population inflation, this task has proven a difficult one for lawmakers and city leaders. This issue has been at the forefront of elections and Twin Cities residents’ minds for quite a while. However, the increasing cost of childcare in the city is a very relevant issue that may be glossed over when trying to mend problems in Twin Cities families’ lives.

Currently, Minnesota ranks third highest in the nation for cost of licensed care centers, with prices ranging above $9,000 annually. Unfortunately, prices in the Twin Cities metropolitan area are becoming even more expensive, with prices estimated to be around $16,000 annually. These are not going down. With inflation, costs for licensed child care will continue to go up at an astounding rate, leaving low income families with little to do. Fortunately, there is assistance; however, with the threshold arriving at half the state median income, certain families above that cutoff but still struggling to front childcare costs are left searching for answers.

The situation surrounding childcare comes with the recent news that the College of Education and Human Development is planning to close its local childcare center after 45 years of service to local families. The Shirley Moore Laboratory School will take its place and aim to delve deeper into research and training programs. Many families were shocked and outraged by the announcement as the parents of the center’s 140 children will have to search for a new, reliable and affordable place. 

We would like to highlight the disparities that families in the Twin Cities face every day, and closing a quality child care center does not solve the problem. CEHD wanted to move in the direction of research and that is understandable. Parents will still have 18 months to vet new places, eventually making new arrangements. This comes after a period of uncertainty about funding dating back to early 2017, which was an early warning sign about the future of child care centers within the University of Minnesota.

We urge lawmakers and the University of Minnesota to address this issue to the best of their respective abilities. Many families suffer from lack of funds, and childcare should not be such a large burden on families in Minneapolis, the state of Minnesota or the nation as a whole. Childcare is a basic need for any family, and with home care not always being an option, finding care that is reliable and cost-effective is a problem without an immediate answer. That problem needs to be solved.