2023 Legislative Agenda with Outcomes

The Sheltering Arms Foundation’s legislative priorities use a racial equity lens on all public policies.  We prioritize policies that will benefit low-income children, rural children, and families as well as Black, Indigenous and children of color and their families and the programs that serve them.

The Sheltering Arms Foundation advocates for policies that support: Affordable, high-quality, flexible and culturally appropriate early childhood care and education to support families and prepare children to be ready for kindergarten.

Community Wellness and Mental Health Supports

Support the mental wellbeing of children, families and early care and education professionals with early childhood mental health consultation, increased resources for community mental health services and sustainable investment in the Community Solutions Fund.

  • Outcome: The Family Partnership Executive Function Curriculum grant at $300,000
  • Outcome: Creation of Kindergarten Entry Assessment funded at $3 million
  • Outcome: Community Solutions Fund grant program funded at $6 million

Increase funding and access to targeted home visiting programs.

  • Outcome: An additional $4 million for home visiting and $1.8 for ParentChild+ home visiting

Early Care and Education Professionals and the Workforce

Support policies that improve recruiting and retaining early care and education professionals through improved compensation, benefits, professional development resources and other short and long term solutions to support compensation and retention practice.

  • Outcome: Creation of Grow Your Own Early Childhood and Family Education Program and $5 million of biennium with $500,000 in the base
  • Outcome: $42 million for transition grant payments
  • Outcome: $316 million for Child Care Retention payments in FY2024-25 and $382 million in FY2026-27
  • Outcome: $700 thousand for TEACH scholarships
  • Outcome: $3.9 million for REETAIN grants
  • Outcome: $1 million to Office of Higher Education to address early childhood teacher shortage

Increase support and resources for Family, Friend, and Neighbor Care (FFN) through professional development opportunities and access to other supports.

  • Outcome: $2.725 million for Family, Friend, and Neighbor Care

Comprehensive Package to Increase Access to High Quality Early Care and Education

Provide consistent and dedicated funds to support a robust early childhood system that gives children and families access to a continuum of high-quality early care and education programs. A broad range of program types supported by a dedicated revenue stream is essential to support an economically viable early education ecosystem.

  • Outcome:  Early learning scholarships: $392 million for the biennium (which is a $252 million increase) with $59 million ongoing. Eligibility is opened to children 0-5 and prioritizes children 0-4. Programs with a 4-star Parent Aware rating must receive at least 75% of market value.
  • Outcome: $33 million in ongoing funding for school readiness
  • Outcome: $196 million for CCAP (Child Care Assistance Program) in FY2024-25 and  $382 million in FY2026-27. Rates increased to 75th percentile of the market survey and tied to the last three years of the survey
  • Outcome: Creation of the Department of Youth, Children and Families and appropriation of almost $14 million
  • Outcome: Creation of the Great Start Scholarship program and $1.6 million appropriation
  • Outcome: $5 million for the Parent Aware rating system
  • Outcome: Creation of the Office of Child Care Partnerships
  • Outcome: $13 million for grants to local communities to increase the number of quality child care providers
  • Outcome: Voluntary pre-K $31.7 additional in FY24-25 and $149.3 million FY26-27

Family Finance and State Innovation

Tax credits:

  • Outcome: $794 million for a child tax credit – includes a $1,750 credit for married filers who make $35,000 and phases out for those who file jointly up to $90,000
  • Outcome: $3.2 million for Child and Dependent newborn credit for unmarried filers

Infrastructure investment

  • Outcome: $2 million for early learning and child protection facilities
  • Outcome: $900,000 for Greater MN child care facilities

Innovative business solutions

Paid Family and Medical Leave:

  • Outcome: Paid family medical leave up to 12 weeks per child or a total of 20 weeks per family to begin in 2026.
  • Outcome: Child tax credit: $1,750 per dependent, phase-out at $30,000 joint filers, $29,000 single filer

High quality, developmentally and culturally appropriate out-of-school-time and mentoring programs for Minnesota children.

Afterschool Community Learning Program

Restore Minnesota’s commitment to the Afterschool Community Learning program with an investment of $45 million over the next four years to provide afterschool and summer learning programs for young people eligible for free and reduced lunch by funding competitive grants to afterschool and summer learning programs.  This will help build on the Believe It Build It grant program approved in 2021 with federal ARP funds.

  • Outcome: Afterschool Community Learning grants were funded at $30 million over the next four years.

Our policy agenda was developed to align with our collective impact partners Start Early Funders Coalition and Ignite Afterschool.