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Our lead allies in Minnesota are Children’s Defense Fund Minnesota (CDF-MN) and West Central Initiative. CDF-MN works to ensure every child has a healthy, fair, safe, moral, and head start in life and a successful passage to adulthood. The organization’s programs are based in advocacy, research, outreach, and youth development to make a positive difference in the lives of Minnesota’s children and families. CDF-MN and the West Central Initiative together chair the Minnesota Prenatal to Three Coalition, which represents a broad array of local, regional, and statewide early childhood stakeholders and coalitions.

2023 State Early Childhood Policy Environment and Progress

State early childhood policy progress is dependent both on the state’s policy environment and the numerous efforts — by those listed on this page and many others — who worked both independently and collaboratively to achieve wins for young children.

Early Childhood Landscape:

Research shows that family economic security is foundational to children’s overall wellbeing. Research also shows that widespread disparities in opportunity (especially by race) drive wide disparities in outcomes. States with policies that offer strong support to young children and their families are more likely to see 1) declining numbers of children in low-income households and 2) low racial disparity among those children. 

Young Children in Low-Income Households: Declining

Approximately 29% (174,000) of the state’s children 0-8 live in households below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (2021). This number represents a decrease from 22% (206,000) in 2016.1

Racial Disparity Among Young Children Living in Low-Income Households: High

Black, Hispanic/Latino, and/or Native children aged 0-8 are significantly more likely to be living in households below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level than are Asian and non-Hispanic White children.2

Advocacy Landscape:

State General Fund Appropriations: Growing 

On May 24, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz completed signing the budget bills that comprise the state’s biennium budget for fiscal 2024-2025. The budget calls for $61.8 billion in total expenditures in fiscal 2024 (a 6.6 percent increase compared to fiscal 2023) and $59.1 billion in total expenditures in fiscal 2025 (a 4.5 percent decrease compared to fiscal 2024). 3 

Largest Per Capita Revenue Sources (after federal transfers) (FY 2021):4

    • Individual Income Taxes: $2,657 per capita
    • Property Taxes: $1,870 per capita

Political Alignment: Aligned Democrat

During the 2023 session, the state’s Senate and House were both Democrat controlled. The state’s Governor was also a Democrat.5

Types of Common Ballot Measures Available:6  One

    • Legislature-Initiated Constitutional Amendments – A constitutional amendment that appears on a state’s ballot as a ballot measure because the state legislature in that state voted to put it before the voters.

Key state policy advocacy organizations include:

Children's Funding Project and the Alliance for Early Suceess

Early childhood policy advocacy multi-state initiatives present in the state include4:

2023 Policy Progress:

The 2023 legislative session represented a success years in the making. Thanks to the  advocacy and hard work of a “coalition of coalitions” across the state, the session saw the passage of strong new supports for young children and their families.

Highlights from the state’s early childhood policy advocacy community include:8

Established a nation-leading child tax credit that is estimated to reduce child poverty by one-third and reach 1
in 10 Minnesota households.

Invested a historic amount in education and schools including by indexing general education funding to inflation.

Provided up to $1,300 in checks to Minnesota families, including an additional $260 per child up to three.

Established a statewide Paid Family and Medical Leave insurance program to provide partial wage replacement
for up to 12 weeks of leave for medical reasons, bonding, or caring for a family member.

Invested $1.3 billion over four years to increase access and affordability of mixed-delivery child care that will
result in 3,600 additional children accessing Child Care Assistance, between 8,000 and 11,000 additional children
accessing Early Learning Scholarships, and 12,360 voluntary Pre-K seats funded.

Created one of the first-in-the-nation state-funded programs to increase child care worker compensation and
expand child care access.

Made a $1-billion investment in housing access and affordability.

Increased food access by providing free school meals, and increasing funding for food shelves, prepared meals,
and food assistance outreach.

Expanded health coverage by providing continuous Medicaid coverage for young children up to age 6 and 12-
month continuous coverage for all other children enrolled in Medicaid.

Invested nearly $100 million in children’s mental health supports.

Established the Department of Children, Youth, and Families, a new cabinet-level agency that reimagines our
state government structures to elevate child, youth, and family priorities and funding needs.


Full details on the specific legislation are available in the 2023 Legislative Wins for Children and Familes report from the Minnesota Children’s Cabinet.


Ongoing Grantee Areas of Advocacy:

The Alliance’s lead grantees in Minnesota, Childrens Defense Fund, West Central Initiative and LaCroix-Dalluhn Consulting, are working to advance early childhood policies in several areas: 

Early Care and Education

Child Care

Child Care Workforce

Preschool and Pre-K

K-3 Education

Child and
Maternal Health

Child Welfare 

Maternal Health

Infant & Child Health


Family Economic Security

Home Visiting

Paid Family Leave

Eaarly Childhood Infratructure


Early Childhood Governance

Click here for more information on advocates’ policy agenda.


1 Kids Count Data Center, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Children Ages 0 to 8 Below 200 Percent Poverty, November, 2022 

2 National Center for Children in Poverty, Children Ages 0 to 8 Below 200 Percent Poverty, March 2023, NCCP analysis of ACS 1-Year Estimates – Public Use Microdata Sample 2021

3 National Association of State Budget Officers, Summaries of Fiscal Year 2024 Enacted Budgets, October 11, 2023.

4 Urban Institute, State Fiscal Briefs, July 2023

5 National Conference of State Legislatures, 2023 State & Legislative Partisan Composition, February 28, 2023.

6 Ballotpedia, Ballot Measures by State, Kids Count Data Center, retrieved May, 2023.

7 Alliance for Early Success, Multi-State Initiatives for Early Childhood Policy Advocacy, April, 2022.

8 Alliance for Early Success, State-Wide Advocacy Highlights Survey, April-August, 2023.  

More State Policy Data:


More State Demographic Data: