Skip to main content

Boreal Community Media

Governor Walz Announces Expansion of Child Care for Military Families in Minnesota

Jan 23, 2024 09:13AM ● By Content Editor

Photo: Office of Gov Walz and Lt. Gov Flanagan

From the Office of Governor Walz - January 23, 2024

Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan today announced the launch of a new Department of Defense initiative that will expand childcare benefits for military families. The initiative will increase childcare options for military families, while reducing the cost of childcare expenses up to $1,800 per month per child. Governor Walz made the announcement today at a childcare center in Brooklyn Park.

“Minnesota’s military families make incredible sacrifices for our state and country,” said Governor Walz. “These families deserve affordable, reliable child care that allows them the flexibility to work, visit the doctor, and manage their lives. By increasing child care options and lowering expenses, we’re making sure our military families know we have their back.”

The initiative expands child care options through the fee assistance program, known as Military Child Care in Your Neighborhood-PLUS (MCCYN-PLUS). This fee assistance program, offered to eligible military families, will include quality state-rated providers when on-installation child care is unavailable. This program is funded and operated by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). Benefits will be paid directly to qualifying childcare providers from the DoD.

“The Defense Department recognizes our military families need and deserve quality, affordable care for their children in order to be mission ready,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy Patricia Montes Barron. “The department invites all remaining states that operate child care quality rating and improvement systems to partner with us and join the MCCYN-PLUS initiative, so the department can provide more military families with fee assistance to offset the high cost of child care in the community.”

“The Military Child Care in Your Neighborhood-PLUS Program provides an affordable, high-quality education for our children, reducing our out-of-pocket expenses saving our family thousands of dollars annually,” said Joshua Niblack, a procurement specialist with the U.S. Army. “This program highlights just how committed Minnesota is to expanding childcare options to military families, especially as we face the challenges of limited availability and rising costs of childcare.”

Licensed childcare programs can now participate in MCCYN-PLUS based on their rating in the state’s quality rating and improvement program, Parent Aware. Under the new initiative, childcare programs in Minnesota can participate if they have a quality level equivalent to 3 stars or higher. Childcare providers and military families can learn more by going to the Child Care Aware of America website for assistance.

As of January 2024, Minnesota has nearly 1,600 active duty service members and more than 21,000 active National Guard and reserve members. Minnesota joins 14 other states and counties in this expanded program.

Boreal Ship Spotter - larger view here