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Child Care Solutions


About the Child Care Solutions Pilot Program

The Initiative Foundation is pleased to announce a partnership with the Minnesota Department of Human Services and First Children’s Finance to help surface innovative solutions to the shortage of quality, affordable child care in Central Minnesota.

First Children’s Finance estimates that more than 17,000 Central Minnesota children and their families lack child care opportunities, which inhibits development and school readiness. Equally important, said Don Hickman, vice president for community and workforce development at the Initiative Foundation, “is that many families are disengaged from the workforce because they can’t find quality, affordable care at a time when most employers in the region are urgently looking for skilled workers.”

Through $150,000 in grant support from the Minnesota Department of Human Services and its emerging partnership with First Children’s Finance, the Initiative Foundation is launching a pilot program for up to four Central Minnesota communities that will focus on child care solutions:

  • Guided by First Children’s Finance, each pilot community will explore their unique barriers to quality, affordable care and identify opportunities to create additional child care slots to narrow the gap.
  • Upon completion of a strategic plan, each community will be awarded a challenge grant of $10,000 to implement their action plan.



Early Childhood

Parent Aware Facts for Child Care Providers

Early Childhood Challenge Match Fact Sheet

Minnesota Early Childhood Initiative Fact Sheet

Moving to Mixed Delivery, Voluntary Preschool for Four-Year-Olds: An Approach
For Minnesota

Inside Out Connections GuideHow to Explain Jails and Prisons to Children

Early Childhood Dental

Initiative Foundation Early Childhood Dental Network Fact Sheet

Preschool Tooth TipsTips for preschool oral care

Pregnancy/Infancy Tooth Tips: oral care tips for pregnant women and infants

Baby Teeth: Bring your child to the dentist by age 1! Dentists have special tools to remove germs before it decays the teeth. It is their job to keep mouths happy and healthy. 
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Three good reasons to see the dentist by age 1 
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Expanded learning activities for “Throw Your Tooth on the Roof” book: Literacy, music and hands on activities to enhance the child’s learning experience while reading, "Throw your tooth on the roof book," by Selby Beeler.  
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Expanded learning activities for "The Tooth Book": Literacy, music and hands on activities to enhance the child’s learning experience while reading "The Tooth Book" by Doctor Seuss. Somali  Spanish  Hmong

Fun activities for the "Open Wide" bookGuidelines and fun activities and ideas to aid your child in learning the concepts shared in this book.  
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Fun activities for the "Brush Your Teeth Please" book: Fun learning activities to aid your child in learning the concepts shared in this book.  
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Back to School- for school age childrenChildren with healthy mouths are ready to learn! 
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Back to School- for preschoolers: Children with healthy mouths are ready to learn!
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Back to School- for infants and toddlers: Healthy mouths in young children is vital to their overall healthy development!  
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Helpful Links

Child Care Aware
Dental Health Theme Free Preschool Curriculum
Video: Healthy Teeth for Children- English 
Video: Healthy Teeth for Children- Spanish 
Video: Healthy Teeth for Children- Somali
Minnesota Oral Health Coalition
America’s Tooth Fairy
Oral Health America
Sip all Day, Get Decay
Children’s Dental Health Project
Colgate: Infants and Children’s Resources

From Minnesota Compass ...

September 4th
This report highlights results from a national survey on unaccompanied youth homelessness in America. The study captures youth homelessness broadly, including sleeping on the streets, in shelters, running away, being kicked out, and couch surfing. Overa…
March 8th
Using data from the American Community Survey (ACS), this brief finds that relatively few children ages 3 and younger were uninsured in 2015 nationally and in most states, and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was associated with increased coverage among b…
March 8th
A compilation of national and state-by-state data on poverty, health, child welfare, youth at risk, early childhood development, education, nutrition and housing. Report is compiled annually.
October 11th
A resource for parents and early childhood educators that provides guidelines on a continuum of learning and development skills for young children age birth to five.
December 11th
The Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ) is a collaboration of community organizations whose mission is to build a culture of achievement in North Minneapolis to assure all youth graduate from high school college-ready. The evaluation includes community surve…
March 8th
Using data from the American Community Survey (ACS), this brief finds that relatively few children ages 3 and younger were uninsured in 2015 nationally and in most states, and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was associated with increased coverage among b…

Early Childhood Initiative

The Initiative Foundation believes that nurturing young children is the responsibility of parents and communities.

The Initiative Foundation advances this belief by providing support for community-based coalitions to develop a vision and a strategic plan that focuses on quality early childcare and education. 

The Initiative Foundation in partnership with the Minnesota Early Childhood Initiative strives to ...

  • Educate citizens about the first five years of rapid brain development that forms lifetime personalities, social skills and learning capacity.
  • Promote parents and families as the primary and most important caregivers of young children and fosters the concept that nurturing and educating children should be embraced by entire communities.Minnesota Early Childhood Initiative
  • Help community coalitions create a shared vision and plan of action around the care and education of young children and their families.
  • Provide training, financial and technical assistance and resource/referral services to implement quality community-based opportunities for young children.
  • Connect with other early childhood-focused communities statewide.
  • Promote and advance local, state and national public policy to support quality care and education for our youngest citizens.
  • Create and promote "one voice" around the issue of early care and to speak for those who cannot.

To date, the initiative has developed 90 early childhood coalitions in 300 communities across Greater Minnesota. The Initiative Foundation supports 20 coalitions in Central Minnesota. Visit the grants page to learn how the Initiative Foundation could help you in your efforts to support healthy children, healthy families. 

Promoting healthy social, emotional development

Statewide surveys reveal that an alarming number of Greater Minnesota children struggle with mental health issues and a striking lack of access to professional help.

These surveys paired with national studies prompted the six Minnesota Initiative Foundations to launch the Minnesota Thrive Initiative in 2007. The Minnesota Thrive Initiative goal is to build powerful community action teams that work to increase awareness, early intervention and prevention efforts among families, childcare providers and healthcare professionals.

In Central Minnesota, the Greater St. Cloud Area Thrive Coalition is working to ensure that all families have access to the information and resources they need. For more information, visit the Thrive website.



 Don Hickman
Vice President for Community
 Workforce Development
(320) 631-2043

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