Minnesota Drafts Plan For Eliminating Poverty
Oct 23, 2008
In 2006, the Minnesota Legislature established an ambitious commission, the Legislative Commission to End Poverty in Minnesota by 2020, composed of members from both the state Senate and House of Representatives. This month, the commission released its draft plan on how to support low-income Minnesotan families move towards economic self-sufficiency. The plan identifies a set of major challenges that low-income families face and provides a set of recommendations to address those areas. One of the clearly identified challenges is access to affordable, high-quality child care for working families:
We see that a significant barrier to employment for all families is access to affordable, high-quality child care and that many families have to make the difficult choice on whether or not to work, based on the availability of child care. Meeting families needs for affordable, high quality child care will benefit all families and have a major impact on reducing poverty in Minnesota.
The plan stresses the need for increased investment in child care and early education as part of an anti-poverty strategy. Among its recommendations, the plan echoes the Center for American Progress Task Force on Poverty and calls for guaranteed access to child care for all low-income Minnesotan families. In addition, the plan recommends that children from low-income families have guaranteed access to high-quality preschool programs and programs with positive track records, such as Head Start and Way to Grow. The plan observes that early childhood education is crucial to providing children with a strong start towards life-long learning.