ST. CLOUD -- The pandemic has taught us a lot over the last year, including the need for more daycare facilities.

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Roughly 51 percent of the population lives in a childcare desert, meaning many families have struggled to find affordable childcare in the communities they live in.

Chad Dunkley is the CEO of New Horizon Academy and the president of the Minnesota Child Care Association. He says the pandemic has brought attention to this issue and the legislature has addressed ways to fix the industry.

One of the temporary things that passed this year is an expanded child tax credit that increases tax credit for families with young children. Then there is the increase to the the dependent care tax credit which allows families to deduct a significant amount on their childcare expenses.

Dunkley says the while the childcare industry is thankful for the financial support provided by the legislature throughout the pandemic, more long-term investments are still needed.

Dunkley says President Joe Biden is proposing significant new investments to help families across the country afford childcare.

If some of the president's proposals become permanent, you would see us looking at opportunities outside of greater Minnesota, where we get calls weekly asking for us to open a facility in this community. However, we just can't make it work because we can't make it affordable for the families that live there and pay our teachers a high enough wage that they can support their families.

Some of the president's proposals include low to moderate income families paying not more that 7 percent of their income toward the cost of high-quality daycare, permanently extending tax credits for families, and more funding to help families gain better access daycares in their communities.

 

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