What's New at Families First?  

 Early Learning Scholarships

Early Learning Scholarships are still available for qualifying 3- and 4-year-old children of income eligible families. Please call 888-450-2773 for further details!

Child Care Assistance Program

Olmsted County Residents

As of December 5, 2016, the Olmsted County Child Care Assistance Program is administered by Olmsted County Family Support & Assistance, and can be reached at 2117 Campus Drive SE, Suite 100, or by calling 507-328-6500.

Winona County Residents

As of January 1, 2017, the Winona County Child Care Assistance Program is administered by Winona County Community Services and can be reached at 202 W. Third Street in Winona, or by calling 507-457-6500 or 844-317-8960.

Grants Available

Child care start-up grants are still available for those who wish to start a family child care business. Contact Dawn for more information: 507-287-2020 ext. 1525.


Work at Families First of Minnesota

Families First of Minnesota is a great place to work! For information on current job openings, click here.

Task Force Reviewing Child Care Issues

A legislative task force held meetings to review the loss of child care providers in the state, assess affordability issues for providers and parents, and identify areas that need to be addressed by the legislature.

The task force, in cooperation with the commission of human services, is charged with delivering a report to the legislative committees with jurisdiction over child care issue and the governor by Jan. 15, 2017.

Members of the task force include Sens. Carla Nelson and David Senjem of Rochester.

6 Things to Know About Child Care in Southeastern Minnesota

  • The number of licensed family child care providers in Olmsted County has fallen from 488 in 2007 to 382 recently.
  • Child care rates are rising in centers and family homes:

o   Weekly infant rates in a center - $297

o   Weekly infant rates in a home - $162

o   Weekly toddler rates in a center - $260

o   Weekly toddler rates in a home - $155

  • In Olmsted County, there are more than 500 families receiving child care assistance and more than 200 families on the waiting list.
  • Infant child care is difficult to find. Some families get on child care center and family child care waiting lists as soon as they learn they’re pregnant.
  • The state has a relatively new rating system called Parent Aware, which provides “tools and information to find the best quality child care and early education for your child.” About 20 percent of providers participate. For more on Parent Aware of Minnesota, go to www.parentaware.org.
  • Are you looking for childcare? Call 888-291-9811 and a coach will help you find quality care to meet your needs.                

Early Head Start Partnerships

Families First recently received a grant from the federal government extending our Early Head Start Child Care Partnership funding through June 30, 2017. The award allows us to serve 76 infants and toddlers in Freeborn, Olmsted, Rice and Winona counties.