Breaking News: Court Order Deems Minnesota Child Care Assistance "Essential"

Jul 13, 2011

Over a week into Minnesota's government shutdown, child care assistance goes from being deemed "not critical" to "essential" in an order issued today by Ramsey County District Court Judge Kathleen Gearin. The order deems all child care assistance programs in the state as critical core functions that will be carried on throughout the shutdown as the result of a hearing regarding petitions submitted to the court on the subject.  

The order explains that child care subsidies funded through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program were deemed essential from the start of the shutdown to avoid violating the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, but subsidies funded through other streams were deemed "not critical." As a result of Minnesota's efforts to blend state funds with federal TANF funds and money from the federal Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) to better serve families in their state, it was determined that separating the funding streams would be a "functional impossibility."

As a result, all child care subsidies will now continue throughout the government shutdown.  We wrote earlier about the challenges the temporary halting of these subsidies presented to thousands of working families in Minnesota. The court's order  is good news for all working families for whom child care is a support, regardless of whether they are served by the TANF dollars or through a separate funding stream.

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