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Teen parent child care exemption

Published (3/2/2012)
By Sue Hegarty
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Teen parents who attend alternative programs to earn a high school diploma and are given child care assistance while in classes are exempt from a maximum 10-day absenteeism rule. However, legislation passed during the 2011 special session will eliminate the exemption beginning Jan. 1, 2013.

Under the new law, child care providers would only be paid for up to 10 days that a child is absent from their care, excluding holidays. Deborah Bennett, child care director at the Anoka-Hennepin School District 11, said all of the children in the district’s alternative program missed more than 10 days last year. Several reasons were cited, such as transportation problems, court hearings, personal illness, social service appointments and preschool visitations.

HF2331, sponsored by Rep. Nora Slawik (DFL-Maplewood), would give counties the option to allow teen parents to exceed the 10-day absence limit. Proponents said rescinding the law would help avoid unintended consequences, where the parent might bring a sick child to day care to avoid going over the limit or leave the child in an unsafe situation.

The House Health and Human Services Finance Committee laid the bill over Feb. 29 for possible inclusion in an omnibus bill. A Senate companion, SF2157, is sponsored by Sen. Julie Rosen (R-Fairmont).

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