Some lawmakers want MN agency for youngsters - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Some lawmakers want MN agency for youngsters

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- With added focus on the early childhood development, some Minnesota lawmakers think issues involved with that stage of life deserve its own state agency.

A bill set for introduction Monday would create the Minnesota Department of Early Care and Education. It would shift duties from three existing departments as a way to coordinate services better.

The bill is sponsored by Democratic Sen. Melissa Wiklund of Bloomington. One goal is to increase the state's ability of make sure preschool children are ready once they hit elementary school.

The department would handle programs now spread across the Departments of Health, Human Services and Education.

If approved, Minnesota's new agency would open later this year.

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