ST. PAUL  (AP) - The judge overseeing appeals from the Minnesota government shutdown has restored funding for a child-care program that serves nearly 16,000 children in more than 9,000 low-income families.

Ramey County Chief Judge Kathleen Gearin on Wednesday accepted a recommendation from special master Kathleen Blatz to reinstate child care funded through the state Basic Sliding Fee program.

The court earlier restored child care services funded with federal money.

Blatz cited testimony that the care programs are so complex that it's impossible to separate the federal from state funds, so the state needs to either make all child care assistance payments, or none at all.

The Service Employees International Union Local 284 Kids First program, which petitioned Blatz along with other groups, says family child care providers are breathing a sigh of relief.

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