State needs child care law reforms

Daily Editorial Board

This month, a group of state legislators will tour Minnesota to meet with parents and providers and seek solutions to a statewide shortage of affordable child care.
 
 
In the last decade, the state has lost more than 3,000 child care providers. That shortage — combined with the swelling price of child care services — is costing Minnesota’s economy, as some parents are left with no other option but to stay at home and watch their children themselves.
 
 
University of Minnesota-affiliated parents have struggled to secure child care spots at near-campus facilities, and they often spend more than a year on waiting lists. 
 
 
For student-parents at the University, affordability is an equally pressing issue. Fees for the lowest income bracket can top $1,000 a month at the University’s Child Development Center, for example.
 
 
In the past, administrators have dismissed calls for University-sponsored child care options as too expensive, though the state has made some progress on the issue in recent years. For example, a $134 state investment permitted almost 60,000 children to attend all-day kindergarten in the fall of 2014. Last year, Gov. Mark Dayton proposed to expand child-care tax credit.
 
 
Parents should not have to carry the burden of expensive child care — or sacrificing employment — because the country and state have too few policies like paid family leave or subsidized facilities. More needs to be done to support those who are raising the next generation of 
Minnesotans.