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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Dave Pinto (DFL)

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Release: Minnesota House Passes Supplemental Children and Families Budget

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

St. Paul, Minn.— Today, the Minnesota House of Representatives passed the Children and Families Supplemental Budget bill on a 68-62 vote. HF 2476 builds on the historic investments DFLers passed in 2023, including needed reforms to the state's child protection system and additional funding to address hunger and homelessness.  

“All children deserve to grow and thrive in a safe environment,” said Rep. Dave Pinto (DFL-St. Paul), chair of the House Children and Families Committee. “Our supplemental budget prioritizes the well-being of children and families, with a particular focus on improvements to Minnesota's critically-important child protection system." 

Beginning in November 2023, the Star Tribune has published a series of articles highlighting concerns involving Minnesota’s child protection system, including multiple deaths from maltreatment. The supplemental budget reforms the process for reviewing and learning from these tragic incidents. It also establishes a Supreme Court Council on Child Protection Council, charged with developing a comprehensive blueprint to improve the broader system. In addition, the bill moves toward a statewide child maltreatment hotline; provides supports for "kinship care," to prevent children from disproportionately represented communities from being placed in nonrelative foster care; and begins replacement of the Social Services Information System (SSIS), a 1990s-era IT system that is cumbersome, unreliable, and hindering reform.

In the areas of food security and action against homelessness, the supplemental budget bill provides more than $10 million per biennium - unlocking more than $100 million in federal funding - for a summer meals program for children, building on the universal school meals program that DFLers enacted last session. The bill also provides $5 million to food shelves, food banks, and Tribal food sovereignty programs, as well as $4 million to address increases in homelessness, and possible closures of emergency shelters, throughout the state.

In the area of child care and early learning, the budget bill funds a revised system for addressing violations of licensing requirements - under which the level of risk to child safety is taken into account - and awards grants to help early childhood educators earn a Child Development Associate degree. Finally, the bill continues the establishment of the new Department of Children, Youth, and Families, which will begin operations on July 1. 

Video of the floor debate will be available here.