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Legislation establishing a new Department of Early Childhood advances

Thursday, February 18, 2021

SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Today, the House Early Childhood Finance and Policy Committee advanced legislation to establish a Department of Early Childhood. Under the bill, authored by Rep. Dave Pinto (DFL – St. Paul), early childhood programs that are currently administered by multiple state agencies would be transferred to a single, dedicated, cabinet-level agency. 

“The earliest years of a child’s life set the foundation for everything that follows,” said Rep. Pinto, the chair of the committee. “But Minnesota's programs focused on young children and their families are located deep within multiple separate agencies. This fragmented approach hinders coordination, accountability, and - most importantly - support for families." 

The bill creates a new state agency called the Department of Early Childhood to administer all of the state’s early childhood programs, including home visiting, child care and early learning, and many more. These programs are currently housed in the Departments of Education, Health, and Human Services. 

Committee members heard testimony from national experts, including a policy analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures, that states across the country are similarly consolidating their early childhood programs. 

Video of the hearing will be available on House Public Information Services’ YouTube channel. More information, including documents from the hearing, is available on the committee’s webpage. The next hearing for the bill is on Tuesday, February 23 at 10:30am in the House Education Finance Committee.