Child Care Aware Provider Services

Early Childhood Professionals & Caregivers

Minnesota depends on you! We count on you to nuture our children, prepare them for kindergarten and support their working parents.

We are here to help. Click on the tabs below to find out more information or contact your local Child Care Aware Staffer to help you with more information!


  • Professional Development
  • Becoming Licensed
  • Grants & Scholarships

Becoming Licensed

In Minnesota, family child care must meet standards for caregiver qualifications, physical environment, number of children per caregiver, behavior guidance, required policies and records, activities, and equipment. (View a complete description of the Minnesota Rules here.) Contact your local social services agency to request an application and to get information about becoming a licensed provider. At the time of application, the applicant and all specified household members, over the age of 13, must have a background study. A fire inspection may also be required under certain conditions. Many counties offer a licensing orientation meeting, where you can get an overview of the licensing process.

Child Care Licensing Contacts


With the exception of Start-up and Emergency grants, that are on-going while funds last, the grants are open for application in the fall of each year. Applications will be available at from the first day of availability through the deadline date. Please watch your mail, our training catalog and newsletter, and your local newspapers for announcements of application availability. You may also request that an application be sent to you, by calling 1-800-890-5399 or by e-mailing Grant funds are limited and awarded on a competitive basis to qualified child care providers.

Start-Up Grants

Funds are available, on an ongoing basis, to assist with the costs associated with start-up of newly licensed or soon to be licensed child care providers/programs. Grants are limited to items and services required in writing by licensing or the Fire Marshal.

Quality Care Grants

These funds are available to licensed or soon to be licensed providers to increase the quality of care for all children in their care. This may include items and equipment to improve the learning environment, health and safety items, and/or professional development opportunities.

Emergency Grants

These grants are available, on an ongoing basis, to assist licensed child care providers/programs and school-age care programs that are experiencing and emergency that jeopardizes their immediate ability to provide care.

Grant Requirements

Providers who receive grant awards are required to provide active licensed child care in Minnesota for a period of two years after receiving your grant award, or repay the grant on a pro-rated basis, and complete a certain amount of training. The training requirement is 12 hours of training for a grant award of up to $500 or 16 hours for a grant award of $500 or more. Approved Training: All Child Care Aware sponsored or co-sponsored trainings are considered approved training options. The 12 or 16 hours of training that you will be required to complete must be from: -or-
- from a list of approved training projects or curriculums.

Contact the grants administrator @ 800-890-5399 for a complete list of accepted classes. Note: Association trainings must be co-sponsored by Child Care Aware or one of the approved training projects to count towards the grant requirement.

R.E.E.T.A.I.N Grants

Are you a child care provider in Minnesota who holds an Associate Degree or higher, or have you earned and maintained a CDA credential from the Council for Professional Recognition? Then you could qualify for a REETAIN grant. R.E.E.T.A.I.N (Retaining Early Educators Through Attaining Incentives Now) is a workforce retention program that strives to reduce the turnover rates among child care providers who work with young children. Grant recipients are free to use grant dollars as they choose. Grant dollars are considered additional salary and may be used to pay bills, reinvest in your in your child care setting, or cover personal expenses.

The grants range from $1000 to $3500 depending upon the level of education attained. REETAIN conducts one winter round (Dec. 1 - Jan. 31, accepting applications from center-based child care providers), and one summer round (June 1 - July 31, accepting applications for family child care providers.)

REETAIN is a program that offers grants to providers who:

- Are licensed or work for a licensed program 
- Work at least 30 hours per week directly with same one or two groups of children 
- Have been working in their current position for at least one year 
- Have earned a CDA, Associate Degree, Bachelors degree or higher 
- Are willing to commit to staying in their position for one year.

Family, Friend & Neighbor Incentive Grants

As a Family, Friend and Neighbor provider, you are not licensed, but you care for children who are part of your extended family, circle of friends or in your neighborhood, while the parents are at work or school. Even if you do not get paid, you are part of this group, and you play an important part in preparing that child for success in school. Please call the NE District office @ 1-800-890-5399 for supportive services, such as information on child development, first aid/safety classes, and limited scholarship dollars for training. FFN providers limited to relatives and one unrelated family in their care.

Financial Resources


First Children's Finance provides loans to child care and early education centers. They offer loans for new businesses or expansion, and quality improvements or equipment/furniture/toys for existing homes or centers. Visit First Children’s Finance on-line or call 1-866-562-6801 for more information.