U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar, Tina Smith Announce New Childcare Facility in Luverne

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN), a member of the Senate Education Committee, announced federal funding they secured last year to renovate a vacant facility in Luverne, Minnesota into a childcare center has been disbursed. The project will help the city purchase and renovate a facility into a new center that will accommodate 186 infants, toddlers, preschool, and school-age children. The renovated space will also accommodate staff and administrative spaces, a gymnasium, and food preparation kitchen.

“Too often I have heard that parents around the state, including in Rock County, have difficulty finding safe, reliable, and affordable child care in their communities,” said Senator Klobuchar. “We worked to secure a federal grant for Luverne to open a new child care center to serve hundreds of kids and expand options for parents.”

“With few options for childcare in this area, working families are put in a serious bind. How can parents work without a safe, affordable place for their kids to go while they are at work?” said Senator Smith. “Luverne is leading the way in creating a community young families will want to live in, and this new facility is a testament to their hard work.”

Rock County has over 350 kids below the age of five who need childcare, but capacity for just 240 of them, according to First Children’s Finance. Over the last ten years, almost half of the nearly 60 home child care providers in Rock County have left the field or retired. For some families, it makes more financial sense stay home rather than placing their kids in childcare, rather than enter the workforce. The city and county worked with Senator Klobuchar and Smith’s staff to apply for $2.6 million in Rural Development funding through Congressionally-Directed Spending in Fiscal Year 2023. The rest of the funding for the facility and renovation is paid for by donations, Rock County and the City of Luverne.

Throughout their time in the Senate, both Senators Klobuchar and Smith have led efforts to expand access to childcare. In addition to leading the push to stabilize the childcare sector, Smith has introduced bipartisan legislation to bring more childcare to more agricultural and rural communities. Both Senators support the Child Care for Working Families Act, and Senator Smith supports the Child Care for Every Community Act. One of the first bills Smith authored in the Senate was the Child Care Supply Improvement Act, which would fund childcare facilities and help childcare providers navigate important health and safety requirements, in addition to supporting the creation of childcare businesses.