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New Online Tool Gives MN Child-Care Providers, Parents More Insight

There are about 10,000 licensed child-care providers in Minnesota. (Tyler Hoff/Flickr)
There are about 10,000 licensed child-care providers in Minnesota. (Tyler Hoff/Flickr)
October 13, 2017

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Minnesota is first in the nation to use a new online tool that's designed to help both child-care providers and parents understand more about who and what is available for licensed child-care.

Angie Bowman is the data programs manager for Child Care Aware of Minnesota, she says the new tool is part of the group's annual survey of providers across the state.

"The other piece that's new with this, this year is, they can also give us their current openings in their child-care business. And so, that information is then shared with parents looking for care on 'parentaware.org,'" she explains.

This year's survey will be available for providers to fill out through March. Even after that, the update tool will be available on the parentaware.org website. Bowman says Child Care Aware has monthly gift-card drawings to encourage providers to participate.

Angie Bowman helped design and deploy the new tool, which she describes as a "living database."

"They can go on anytime and change anything they need to about their child-care business," she adds. "They can change their openings. They can change their hours. If they've gone on and gotten some different training or learned a new language - all of that information can get updated on our tool."

Bowman says she thinks other states may want to adopt a similar approach as they see how well it's working in Minnesota. The information also helps policymakers get the most current information about the cost and availability of child care in Minnesota.

Laurie Stern, Public News Service - MN