MN lawmakers address childcare crisis over pizza

Published: Feb. 24, 2023 at 10:07 PM CST
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – Senators Liz Boldon and Carla Nelson, along with Representatives Kim Hicks and Andy Smith, were in Rochester Friday night to meet with childcare providers. “Pizza with a Purpose” is described by organizers as an event designed to draw attention to the issues facing childcare providers, including low wages and affordability of childcare.

“(We are) Meeting with legislators to express our concern for the childcare industry, as far as staffing goes and the retention grants that are on the table in regard to the budget,” said Michelle Strain, a senior director of a local childcare provider.

According to Strain, the childcare industry is in a state of crisis with staffing shortages and retention issues.

“Childcare is in a crisis. Staffing is not good. We are in a desperate mode. We have wonderful, fantastic staff that are retiring or quitting because they can’t afford to take their paycheck home and pay rent, pay their own childcare, pay gas, just basic necessities,” Strain added.

Despite having excellent programs for children in Minnesota, Strain said that there is a need to implement these programs, and that the teachers are the soul of the childcare industry.

“As you heard tonight, some centers have 100 families on a wait list,” Strain said.