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With $4.6 million in grants, Minnesota supports family, friends and neighbors who provide child care

New state grants totaling $4.6 million will support the important role played by family, friends and neighbors who provide child care for children in diverse communities across Minnesota.

The Family, Friend and Neighbor Grants will go to 20 organizations whose services cover the entire state, including 11 Tribal Nations that share geography with Minnesota. With supports that vary by organization and prioritize the needs of individual communities, the grantees serve Somali, Latine, Hmong, African American, Oromo, American Indian, immigrant and refugee communities.

Many families turn to relatives, friends and neighbors to meet their child care needs, such as grandparents who care for a new grandchild once a week or a neighbor who provides after-school care. The child care they provide may be unpaid or paid, part-time or full-time. These informal arrangements often enable parents to work nontraditional hours.

Minnesota had 82,700 family, friend and neighbor caregivers in 2019. However, many of these caregivers don’t consider themselves part of the child care workforce or know about the supports available to them.

“Family members, friends and neighbors make up a significant portion of our child care workforce,” said Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead. “As we work toward being the best state for children, it’s critical to recognize and support the child care they provide.”

Family, Friend and Neighbor Grants became an ongoing part of the state budget in 2023, providing resources to help caregivers promote social-emotional learning and healthy development, early literacy, and other skills that help children thrive.

The grants are supporting caregivers and families with resources:

• Culturally and linguistically appropriate training, support and resources to improve and promote children's health, safety, nutrition and learning

• Community resources to support families' physical and mental health and their economic and developmental needs

• Connections to early childhood screening programs and referrals to state and local agencies, schools, community organizations and medical providers

• Information about high-quality, community-based early care and learning programs, as well as financial assistance including the Child Care Assistance Program

• Information about registering as a legal nonlicensed child care provider and establishing a licensed family or group family child care program

• Transportation to educational and other early childhood training activities

• Translating materials and translation services

For more information, review the:

• DHS Family, Friend and Neighbor Minnesota website:

• Report to the Legislature on the Family, Friend and Neighbor Grant Program (PDF) or


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