Greater Twin Cities United Way has been hard at work this legislative session advocating for the people and families most impacted by inequitable systems. One of our top priorities has been to champion policies that protect and increase our state’s early childhood investments, because when we prioritize our youngest children, we invest in Minnesota’s future economic prosperity.
One of the biggest drivers of a family’s stability and overall well-being is their child’s high-quality early care, learning and socialization opportunities. These resources impact a parent’s ability to work and provide financial stability as well as a child’s ability to build strong social skills and succeed academically. However, nearly 35,000 children in Minnesota still do not have access to high-quality early care and learning programs. As COVID-19 continues to strain struggling child care providers through increased safety costs, lost revenue and low wages with few benefits, the number of children without these opportunities are expected to grow.
Along with the Start Early Funders Coalition, we recently co-hosted an early childhood legislative briefing for parents, early childhood leaders, advocates, agencies and lawmakers to connect and engage in discussions about equitable policies for improving outcomes for Minnesota’s children. Child care providers shared their experiences navigating the challenges that come with a lack of investment in early childhood resources, further amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic over the last year. This important conversation is one we will continue having with various stakeholders at the Capitol through the remainder of session and beyond.
In addition to expressing our support for policies based in equity and increased investment – such as the expansion of reimbursement rates for early childhood providers that serve children from low-wealth households – we are also working to bring together and amplify other advocate voices.
Local advocate and mother of two, TraNeicia Sylvester, is using her voice to be a community changemaker and ensure Minnesota is fully investing in early childhood education. Additionally, hundreds of young children, parents, educators and advocates from across the state are preparing to gather virtually for our annual Advocacy for Children Day Rally on April 14 to ask legislators to support Minnesota’s youngest and most vulnerable children – please consider joining us by registering here.
A more stable, accessible and robust early childhood system in Minnesota is possible – and it is our collective diligence and amplification of community voices that will make this positive change truly possible.
• Watch community changemaker TraNeicia Sylvester speak to the importance of greater investment in Minnesota’s children
• Learn more and register for the 2021 Advocacy for Children Day Virtual Rally
• Read the early childhood advocates statement