This morning Governor Mark Dayton and the department of Employment and Economic Development announced $519,000 in additional funding for the Minnesota Child Care Grant program.

The Southern Minnesota Initiative Fund based in Owatonna was the recipient of $75,000 for its First Children's Finance operation. The Parenting Resource Center in Austin is to receive $61,000.

The grant program is designed to increase the supply of quality child care providers in communities.

DEED states that the grant program created 313 child slots and 54 child care jobs while helping retain an additional 306 child care slots in 2017. It's believed that 972 new child care slots will be created once all 2017 grand projects are completed.

Finding child care is becoming increasingly difficult with the number of licensed family child care providers down by almost 30% since 2005.

The SMIF serves a 20 county region.