New tool to find child care providers available

Parent Aware, a new easy-to-use rating tool designed to help Minnesota parents find high-quality early learning programs that help children prepare for kindergarten, is expanding to Dakota County in 2013.

To date, parents in Dakota County have had to rely on their own networks and other resources that fall short on measuring kindergarten readiness for child care referrals. By July 2013, more than 50 area providers will be rated and searchable via More rated providers will continue to come online as the ratings expand statewide in 2014 and 2015.

Parent Aware is a voluntary program. Providers who volunteer to be rated receive access to quality improvement grants and consultants who coach them through the improvements needed to increase quality. Parent Aware-rated providers also receive free marketing materials and access to the growing number of families using to shop for child care and early learning programs.

Providers interested in receiving a rating in the first half of 2013 need to sign up by Jan. 1, 2013. Providers that sign-up by Jan. 1 will also have access to a one-time $500,000 pool of additional quality improvement funding.

For more information and to sign up, providers can visit