Rural Child Care Innovation Program Overview

The Rural Child Care Innovation Program (RCCIP), funded by MN Department of Human Services, is an initiative of First Children’s Finance to address the challenges of rural child care in Greater Minnesota through the lens of rural economic development.

The RCCIP uses a community engagement process designed to develop right-sized solutions to increase supply of high quality affordable child care in Minnesota’s rural communities.

Here’s info on their program…

The Rural Child Care Innovation Program is a community engagement process designed to develop right-sized solutions
to address the challenges of early care and education in the communities selected to participate.
Over a two-year period, selected communities will partner with First Children’s Finance to increase the supply of high
quality affordable child care in their local community.
What can a community expect as a result of participating in the Rural Child Care Innovation Program?
The Core Team and the greater community are provided background information on the child care industry along with
other resources that help inform the conversation around the importance of brain development in children, as well as
child care’s link to strong rural communities. Detailed demographic information is prepared along with at a Supply and
Demand Gap analysis report that highlights specific child care needs within the community. The community identifies
innovative solutions to address challenges, and these strategies, combined with local research, are included in a
customized Community Solution Action Plan. Communities that are invited to participate in the program can expect the
following:
 Events that educate community members about the link between quality child care, rural economic
development and viable communities
 The community’s Core Team (see below) will increase their capacity to drive change by identifying resources and
focusing their efforts on solutions that make a difference in the supply of child care
 A thorough analysis of the current child care supply and evaluation of community factors impacting the local
child care supply
 Access to First Children’s Finance’s expertise, resources and tools, including research and financial modeling
 A Community Solution Action Plan that includes solutions generated through a facilitated Town Hall process
 Support and business improvement services to existing family child care providers and child care centers
Why should a community consider participating?
Communities with identified child care challenges impacting economic development in their community should consider
submitting an application. Child care shortages have broad implications beyond the family, and communities need to
address these issues with right-sized solutions that meet the unique needs of the community.
What should Core Team participants expect in the process?
The Core Team, identified in the community’s application, is a primary group of local leaders who become local
champions of child care as an economic development strategy. These community leaders will receive specific training
and business support throughout the process from First Children’s Finance staff. The Core Team, in partnership with
First Children’s Finance will provide leadership to identify solutions to the child care challenges. The project timeline
highlights the main areas of need for participation and each step of the community engagement process.

How does the program include existing child care providers?
While the broader conversation around child care needs continues, First Children’s Finance works directly with local
child care centers and family child care providers on their business needs. This includes a four month business cohort
experience, and one-on-one individualized consultation to identify needs to help support long-term sustainability efforts
and profitability of their programs.
How does the greater community participate?
Through demonstration and guided support, First Children’s Finance prepares the Core Team to communicate child care
needs through crafted presentations tailored for different audiences. The Core Team leads the engagement with the
community to inform potential solutions.
Are communities required to pay for any services provided in the program?
No, due to generous funding from MN Department of Human Services and other philanthropic partners, First Children’s
Finance does not require payment to participate in the Rural Child Care Innovation Program.
For more information please contact:
Jessica Beyer
Business Development Specialist
Jessica@firstchildrensfinance.org
320-808-7066 (mobile)

Child Care for Economic Growth – policies at the MN Legislature

The Greater Minnesota Partnership and Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities recently posted a fact sheet on the Child Care Conundrum. The outline proposals this legislative session to address this problem…

  • Funding for Initiative Foundations to help expand access to quality childcare HF 2424 (Gunther)/SF 2090 (Nelson) provides $1.5 million for grants awarded to Initiative Foundations for the planning, coordination, training and education necessary to expand child care access. This proposal is based on a successful pilot program initiated by the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation which helped child care providers with business improvement planning and quality mentoring with an aim toward the goal of becoming rated under Minnesota’s Parent Aware Quality Rating System.
  • Bonding & general fund appropriation for child care facilities HF 4032 (Gunther)/SF 3578 (Eken) provides $5 million in bonding and $5 million from the general fund to provide grants to local governments and non-profits in Greater Minnesota to cover up to 50% of the costs to build, upgrade or expand child care facilities to increase capacity and meet state requirements.
  • Grants to increase child care availability HF 3605 (Baker)/SF 3316 (Utke) allocates $519,000 to the Minnesota Child Care Grant Program, which aims to increase the supply of child care providers to support economic development. In 2017, this program received $519,000 in funding which created more than 300 new child care slots.