Letter: Lawmakers must work together to fund child care, early learning

It’s time to restructure legislation funding early care.

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Like so many frontline workers, child care providers have been fearless in the face of this pandemic. Moreover, the early care and education industry has proven to be essential to the health of our economy, as well as highly innovative and adaptable.

Since March, the staff at Listos and other childcare centers across Rochester and the state have adopted new approaches to keeping children, staff and their families healthy and safe, while also ensuring that every child has access to the care, education, up-to-date information, food, transportation, housing and health care that they need. Our early educators have also taken action to support school-age children through distance learning. We’ve done so with restricted budgets, increased expenses and limited state funding, which runs out Dec. 31.

Now it’s time for our state and federal governments to come together to restructure legislation to fund early care and education as the essential, public service that it is. All Minnesotans need quality early learning and child care no matter our skin color, ZIP code, or financial status. It’s the kind of investment that will help our communities not only survive, but thrive.

Christina Valdez, Director of Listos Preschool and Childcare, Rochester

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