ywca Minneapolis

CARE Fellowship

CARE Fellowship

A Public Policy and Leadership Learning Cohort

In 2006, the Katie Williams CARE (Child Care Advocates Ready to Emerge) Fellowship was created by Child Care WORKS in honor of longtime children's advocate Katie L. Williams.

The CARE Fellowship aims to provide early childhood development and school-age care professionals an opportunity to connect the dots between early childhood development and school-age care public policy and the daily work of caring for and supporting children and families. Over 200 individuals from throughout Minnesota have graduated from the CARE Fellowship.

Beginning in 2013, a collaborative of child care and early learning organizations have come together to continue the legacy of the CARE Fellows: Child Care Aware of Minnesota, Minnesota Association for the Education of Young Children–Minnesota School Age Care Alliance, Minnesota Child Care Association, Think Small and YWCA Minneapolis.

Participants will learn how they can be effective advocates for the early childhood and afterschool fields when engaging and educating policymakers at all levels of government. Advocacy is about influencing policy through effective conversation and debate.

The application period for the 2018-19 CARE Fellowship is now closed.

Program Description

The CARE (Child Care Advocates Ready to Emerge) Fellowship is an opportunity for participants to:

  • Take time each month to explore public policy topics that impact child care and children in Minnesota
  • Strengthen your understanding of the early childhood and school-age care system in Minnesota
  • Connect with other advocates from various sectors of the early childhood and school-age care fields
  • Develop confidence in your leadership abilities
  • Discover new ways to advocate for Minnesota children
  • Engage with policymakers and field experts

Each session will be led by an informed early childhood and/or school-age care leader and will draw on Minnesota experts to share the latest news, research and strategies to improve early childhood and school-age care public policy.

care fellowship logo

Topics that will be covered include:

  • Understanding the early learning system
  • Racial equtiy in the early years
  • Early childhood and afterschool as social justice issues
  • Minnesota legislative process
  • Telling personal stories
  • Effective legislative meetings
  • Community organizing
  • Using social media
  • Personal leadership style
  • Emerging educational issues

Program Activities


Fellows meet 9 times, once a month, from October 2018 – June 2019, for an all-day workshop. We will meet the second Friday of the month, October-December. We will meet the third Friday of the month, January-June, except in March, when we'll meet the third Wednesday.

Class 12 Gatherings

  • October 12, 2018
  • November 9, 2018
  • December 14, 2018
  • January 18, 2019
  • February 15, 2019
  • Wednesday, March 20, 2019 (State Capitol, St. Paul)
  • April 19, 2019
  • May 17, 2019
  • June 21, 2019

The Policy Project

Each participant makes a contribution to the early childhood field and/or afterschool field by completing an individual policy project during the Fellowship. The project is part of the Fellow’s present work or moves the Fellow in a new direction.

Program Commitment

We ask each participant to commit to:

  • Attend all nine, all-day workshops. Participants should also expect an additional 4-6 hours of work each month.
  • Complete a policy project and present it
  • Complete progress reports and program evaluations
  • Develop and maintain a relationship after the Fellowship with the CARE Collaborative

Past Participant Testimonies

“I never would have been able to just approach him [her legislator] out of the blue and advocate for kids and families if it hadn't been for the CARE Fellowship. I am so thankful that I was allowed to participate and learn from the experience. I'm already planning a one-minute elevator speech for when I go to Senator Franken's Breakfast with Al.”

"When I first heard about the CARE Fellowship I didn’t know what to expect. I have never been overly interested in politics, and words like 'Policy,' 'Legislature' and 'Session' used to fly right over my head. However, when the opportunity to apply for the program arose I didn’t hear any of those words. I heard 'Leadership,' 'Community,' 'Passion' and 'Dedication to Early Childhood.' Now those are things I know! Being a part of the CARE Fellowship has broadened my perspective and helped me understand the different avenues of early childhood. Learning that there are so many people and organizations who are all surrounded around a common goal has been enlightening in so many ways. Then to come together as a united front to make a real difference towards that goal has been one of the most empowering experiences of my career."

"I was not sure at the beginning if this would be something for me – I am SO glad that I stuck it out. The experience has inspired growth and the continuous building of a wonderful network of people."

"Thank you so much for this amazing experience! It has changed my life and provided great direction for me in my interest of policy and advocacy!"