Children’s Defense Fund–Minnesota 2024 Legislative and Administrative Advocacy Agenda

In 2023, the state of Minnesota made unprecedented investments in children and their families – with particular attention to addressing longstanding opportunity gaps for children growing up in Black, Indigenous and communities of color. These investments reflected a shared commitment to making Minnesota the best state in the country to be a child and raise a family – regardless of race, income or geography.

We at CDF-MN are working with the administration on 2023 funding and policy change implementation to ensure all children and families benefit and historical, structural barriers are removed.  While much was accomplished in 2023 significant needs remain, and CDF-MN will continue advocating for the additional investments and policy changes all children need to thrive.  


Implementing the state child tax credit and improving delivery options to increase family economic mobility

In 2023, Minnesota passed a nation-leading child tax credit– a proven approach to decreasing child poverty and improving economic mobility. CDF-MN will lead with local, state and federal partners to ensure access to the current credit and advance additional funding and policy changes necessary that will allow families the choice to receive the credit in advance and periodically throughout the year.

Building a system that provides high quality care and early education to all

In 2023, Minnesota passed a new north star early care and education framework built on the Great Start for All Minnesota Children Task Force recommendations: affordability for families at no more than 7% of income, living wages for early educators and caregivers, and high-quality early care and education for every child. CDF-MN will lead efforts with partners to align advocates around implementation of and adequate funding for this north star framework. 

Investing in community-generated solutions

Communities know best what they need to create healthy children and families. In 2023, Minnesota made the Community Solutions Grant Program for Healthy Child Development a permanent program with significantly increased funding.  CDF-MN will lead, in coalition, to ensure successful implementation of the expanded, permanent grant program and spread the innovative model to other parts of state government, including the new Department of Children, Youth and Families.

Expanding access to paid family and medical leave

In 2023, Minnesota passed the most equitable Paid Family and Medical Leave social insurance program. CDF-MN will lead, in coalition, efforts to ensure implementation of the new Paid Family and Medical Leave social insurance program achieves the program’s promise of addressing racial and geographic economic and health disparities.


Improving access to mental health supports for BIPOC and rural children and families

Mental health has emerged as a top priority identified by families, practitioners and the business community alike as we cope with the ongoing fall-out of COVID-19.  CDF-MN will partner on coalition efforts to increase the resources needed for an improved mental health system for parents and children, especially among infants and in BIPOC and rural communities.

Reducing benefit cliffs and increasing flexibility, coordination and simplification of public programs

In 2023, Minnesota passed legislation creating a new Department of Children, Youth and Families, as well as several changes to other safety net programs designed to improve administration and access. CDF MN will partner with advocates, state and federal policymakers and administrators on the implementation of the new state department to increase coordination, reduce barriers to access and to make public programs –especially healthcare, childcare and MFIP–work better for children and families.

Improving educational success with culturally relevant out-of-school programming

In 2023, Minnesota provided increased one-time investments in the Afterschool Community Learning Grant Program. CDF-MN and its Freedom Schools program will partner to advance the state and local policy changes and increased investments necessary to ensure culturally relevant out-of-school opportunities for all children.


Keeping children and families in stable housing

In 2023, Minnesota created a new state level rental assistance program and significant new investments in housing and first-time homeownership designed to reduce the number of unhoused children and the harms of unstable housing for children.  CDF-MN will support a continuation of these policies and a variety of approaches to protect children from homelessness and housing instability due in part to long-standing effects of historical systemic racism on housing access.

Decreasing the harmful effects of gun violence

Firearms are the leading cause of death for Minnesota children.  In 2023, Minnesota passed red flag and background check laws. CDF-MN will support community partners within the Freedom Schools network and beyond to advance legislative and community solutions aimed at preventing gun violence through a multi-faceted strategy that includes education and helping families and communities heal.

Addressing unequal outcomes in maternal and infant health

In 2022 and 2023, Minnesota expanded Medicaid access to pregnant and postpartum people and young children, as well as doulas, as part of an effort to address unequal health outcomes for BIPOC pregnant people and babies.  CDF-MN will support through the Prenatal to Three and other coalitions the implementation of these expansions as well as advance a variety of new programs designed to ensure every pregnant person and child thrives from the start and into adulthood.