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Lt. Gov. Flanagan visits Rochester to emphasize CARES Act childcare funding

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47) -- Minnesota Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan was at Ariane's Child Care Daycare in Rochester Tuesday to help announce a new proposal for more CARES Act funding for childcare and daycare businesses.

The total proposal calls for $56.6 million in relief funding to help combat additional monetary stress put on businesses for having to go above and beyond for safety during the pandemic.

Flanagan says the money can be spent on, "hand sanitizers, masks, and the additional things that folks need to put in place for health and safety of kiddos."

It hasn't been easy for providers navigating the pandemic.

"Finding cleaning supplies. You know, when the pandemic first hit, it was really hard to find cleaning supplies, hand sanitizers, and soaps, and et cetera." said Ariane's Child Care Daycare owner Ariane Bromberg. "And then we hit the food crisis, in terms of it was hard to find good nutritious foods to serve the children."

"The work we do is incredibly important, we are the backbone to our economy," says Bromberg. "Without childcare, a lot of parents wouldn't be able to go to work and serve the rest of our community."

Finding a childcare provider can be tough for parents in Minnesota. Flanagan says the state has several childcare deserts, with some families having to drive up to 40 minutes to get to one.

"So really struggled trying to find care for her just because of the limited spots in in-home daycare," said parent Suzanne Ferguson. "We really appreciate the fact that we are able to find spots in a home daycare and with someone that we really trust."

Minnesota was in a childcare crisis before the pandemic, so this funding would come at a crucial time.

The proposal was filed on July 1. The legislature has ten days to respond.

Gov. Tim Walz is expected to call a special legislative session next week.

Zach Fuller

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