The commissioner of human services shall establish a demonstration program of grants for community initiatives for children. The goal of the program is to enlist the resources of a community to promote the healthy physical, educational, and emotional development of children who are living in poverty. Community initiatives for children accomplish the goal by offering support services that enable a family to provide the child with a nurturing home environment. The commissioner shall award grants to nonprofit organizations based on the criteria in subdivision 3.
"Community initiatives for children" are programs that promote the healthy development of children by increasing the stability of their home environment. They include support services such as child care, parenting education, respite activities for parents, counseling, recreation, and other services families may need to maintain a nurturing environment for their children. Community initiatives for children must be planned by members of the community who are concerned about the future of children.
In order to qualify for a community initiatives for children grant, a nonprofit organization must:
(1) involve members of the community and use community resources in planning and executing all aspects of the program;
(2) provide a central location that is accessible to low-income families and is available for informal as well as scheduled activities during the day and on evenings and weekends;
(3) provide a wide range of services to families living at or below the poverty level including, but not limited to, quality affordable child care and training in parental skills;
(4) demonstrate that the organization is using and coordinating existing resources of the community;
(5) demonstrate that the organization has applied to private foundations for funding;
(6) ensure that services are focused on development of the whole child; and
(7) have a governing structure that includes consumer families and members of the community.
Grants awarded under this section may be used for the capital costs of establishing or improving a program that meets the criteria listed in subdivision 3. Capital costs include land and building acquisition, planning, site preparation, design fees, rehabilitation, construction, and equipment costs.