Make your voice heard: tell the Minnesota DHS to protect family childcare

In 2021, lawmakers passed a law requiring the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) to revise family childcare standards. The DHS has released a draft of the proposed standards and is asking for public input. After the comment period is over, the DHS will revise the rules further and send a final draft to the legislature for final action in the 2025 session.

Overall, the DHS claims that the new standards are rooted in the best practices, and will improve safety and quality. Whether that will happen is questionable at best. Research evidence has generally found a weak to no relationship between regulations and quality.

However, as numerous family providers have explained (including on a recent episode of the American Experiment podcast), the rules will most likely raise costs and complicate family childcare. This, in turn, might push some providers out of the industry, worsening childcare shortages.

As I wrote before, among other things, the new rules:

  1. dictate cleaning schedules and cleaning products that can be used
  2. require providers to test their soil and water for contaminants
  3. dictate what toys (and how many) providers must have
  4. increase documentation requirements
  5. require internal temperatures to be set only between 68 and 82 degrees
  6. require radon testing
  7. Increase requirements for checking on infants

Here’s how you can make your voice heard

Family childcare providers are an important source of affordable childcare for Minnesota parents, especially those in greater Minnnesota. In the last couple of years, however, family providers have been leaving the industry in droves, partly due to complex rules.

The proposed standards will worsen that trend, making childcare less affordable and less available. This will not only hurt families but also businesses and the overall Minnesota economy.

Tell the DHS to not make this happen.

You can:

  1. Send comments to this email: [email protected]
  2. Take an online survey here (until July 31), or
  3. Sign a petition asking the DHS to restart this process and incorporate input from family providers, as well as delay sending proposed rules to the legislature until 2026.

The Minnesota childcare (especially family childcare) industry is in a crisis. What it needs is less regulation, not more.