MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – For the first time since 2014, the Minnesota legislature approved an increase in payment rates for the state’s child care assistance program.

Federal law requires the programs’ payment rates correlate to a market survey conducted every few years. The current rates are based on a 2011 survey, putting the state at risk for millions of dollars in federal penalties.

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The rates will now rise to match the most recent 2018 survey. The rising cost will be covered by federal funds.

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“Minnesota’s providers of early care and learning were in financial crisis even before the pandemic,” said Rep. Dave Pinto of St. Paul, who authored the bill. “Raising payment rates will help providers continue caring for children so that parents can work, employers can expand, and children can receive the high-quality early learning that will set them up for success in life.

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Gov. Tim Walz has supported the bill and is expected to sign it into law.