ST. CLOUD (WJON News) -- For the first time in several years, child care providers are holding out hope state lawmakers understand the importance of early childhood education.

Earlier this year, Governor Tim Walz proposed a handful of child care system investments to help families and providers across the state.

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Chad Dunkley is the CEO of New Horizon Academy and President of the Minnesota Childcare Association. He says even before the pandemic, the state has been fighting a child care crisis and these investments let him hope change is coming.

We're talking about investments in the child care system that would make child care more affordable for more Minnesota families, it will encourage providers to increase capacity because there is resources available, and there are proposals to increase compensation for early childhood educators.

Dunkley says the Minnesota House released a bill that includes several of these key components and the Minnesota Senate is following suite.

He says providers across the state continue to have long waiting lists for families in need of child care and believes these funding options will be a game changer for many providers.

If this funding passes, like we hope it will, we could immediately pursue opportunities to grow capacity in St. Cloud. We've talk to officials in Duluth and Brainerd. As a provider I know if this funding works we would be able to go into areas we couldn't today.

Dunkely says these investments would make a substantial difference in the child care system and reverse the trend Minnesota daycare providers have been going down for decades.





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