Minnesota KIDS COUNT
KIDS COUNT is a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation and a premier source of data on children and families to inform programs and policy development to improve outcomes for children and families. Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota has been the KIDS COUNT grantee in Minnesota for more than two decades. As part of this project CDF-MN produces an annual Minnesota KIDS COUNT Data Book to share trends in child well-being and to foster discussion on data-driven solutions to improve child outcomes. CDF-MN also updates state and county level data on the KIDS COUNT Data Center (check it out at datacenter.kidscount.org).
Voices and Choices for Children
In 2014, CDF-Minnesota embarked on a process to more meaningfully engage communities of color and American Indians—many of whom have traditionally been under-served by our existing early childhood education and child-development infrastructure. Working closely with Governor Dayton’s Children’s Cabinet, state elected officials, state ethnic councils, early childhood funders and community-based organizations representing these communities, the Voices and Choices for Children Coalition focuses on developing strongly engaged cultural communities of learning, as well as organizing an advocacy pipeline for children of color and American Indian children 0-8 years old. The Voices and Choices for Children Coalition includes organizations, professionals and parents of color and American Indians working across early childhood sectors such as government, philanthropy and non-profits.
Bridge to Benefits
The Bridge to Benefits (B2B) website is a one-stop shop for information on public programs and tax credits, along with tips on how to apply. The site also includes a tool that screens for eligibility for Medical Assistance, MinnesotaCare, the Advanced Premium Tax Credits, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, School Meal Program, WIC, Energy Assistance Program, Child Care Assistance Program, the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Working Family Tax Credit.
Any family can use the screening tool on their own to find out the programs for which they may be eligible. However, CDF-Minnesota has found that interacting with families at the places they may go for help is a more effective way to reach them. We partner with community-based organizations to integrate B2B screenings into their client work. These organizations include food shelves, free tax sites, Community Action Programs, schools, clinics, and other safety net organizations. Currently, close to 400 organizations partner with CDF-MN in using the B2B screening tool.
Economic Stability Indicator
A companion tool to Bridge to Benefits, the Economic Stability Indicator (ESI) is a dynamic, online policy analysis and family budgeting tool that illustrates to legislators, policymakers and advocates the interaction between wages, public programs, tax credits and liability in bringing or failing to bring families to economic stability. This tool can be used with families for budget, wage and program use planning and can be used by policymakers and advocates to understand the interactions between benefits, taxes, and wages and to evaluate proposed legislative changes to programs.
Learn more about national CDF programs below that take place in Minnesota each year!
The Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools® program provides comprehensive, culturally-relevant summer and after-school enrichment to children in high-poverty areas.
The Children’s Defense Fund Beat the Odds® program identifies and rewards young people who have experienced significant hardship in their lives by supporting and training them to become future servant leaders.