Child care bill gains steam

GMNP Executive Director Dan Dorman and SMIF President Tim Penny met with Sen. Erik Simonson and other legislators to discuss the need for more child care options in Greater Minnesota.

GMNP Executive Director Dan Dorman and SMIF President Tim Penny met with Sen. Erik Simonson and other legislators to discuss the need for more child care options in Greater Minnesota.

The CGMC- and GMNP-supported HF 2424, authored by Rep. Bob Gunther (R-Fairmont), received a hearing in the House Job Growth and Energy Affordability Policy and Finance Committee last week. This bill would provide a total of $1.5 million to the six state Initiative Foundations to help facilitate planning, professional development and business training primarily for in-home child care providers. Child care centers are not excluded from the bill, but most of those who will receive training will be in-home providers.

The funding is based on a program developed by the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) in Owatonna. SMIF partners with Child Care Aware, First Children’s Finance and others to deliver no-cost programming in order to build capacity and help providers improve their Parent Aware star rating which will increase the reimbursement amount for providers. SMIF has provided training to more than 500 people in the last four years. The training is held at multiple locations in their service territory, with much of it occurring on weekends and nights in order to accommodate more providers.

If the bill is successful, it will allow SMIF and the other foundations to offer this much-needed assistance all across Greater Minnesota.

SMIF President (and GMNP board member) Tim Penny and Southwest Initiative Foundation Vice President Scott Marquardt did an excellent job testifying in support of the bill at the committee hearing, where the bill was laid over for possible inclusion in the House omnibus jobs bill.

If you have any questions about this bill or other child care initiatives that the CGMC and GMNP are pursuing, please contact GMNP Executive Director Dan Dorman at