North Dakota Child Care Initiative
Supporting Working Families | Strengthening Our Workforce
In 2023, Gov. Doug Burgum signed HB 1540, which allocated nearly $66 million of state funds to work alongside federal funds for the North Dakota Child Care Initiative. The objective of the initiative is to alleviate one of the state’s major barriers to workforce participation, child care.
The initiative came as a result of more than 14 months of collaboration and input from child care providers, business leaders, chambers of commerce, the Workforce Development Council, state agencies, and legislators.
To address the state’s workforce needs, the initiative focuses on three key elements of the child care workforce barrier: availability, affordability and quality. Addressing these elements will make it easier for parents and guardians to work, provide for their families and strengthen local businesses and their communities.
- Quality: Every working parent can be a better employee when they know their child is safe and well-cared for while they’re at work.
- Affordability: Make child care more affordable by connecting more working families with young children to child care assistance
- Availability: Make it easier for working families to find child care when and where they need it.
When quality child care is available and affordable, it’s easier for parents to work.
The initiative and its three key elements are supported by an investment in infrastructure that provides:
Additional staff, coaches, and team members who are readily available to provide timely in-person and on-site services and training.
Increased capacity for quality rating and improvement system (QRIS).
Background check automation (anticipated to begin by July 2024).
Fingerprint stations (full implementation anticipated for January 2024).
Improvements to parent Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) experience.
Expand Best in Class. Expanded access to “Best in Class” experience to 1,800 children per year, for children in the year before kindergarten. Both early childhood providers and their families who participate gain the resources and support needed to give kids a chance to grow, explore, and thrive.
Reward Completion of Above-and-Beyond Training. Offer professional development stipends through grants and incentives directly to child care workers who complete “above and beyond” training in high-priority content areas.
Provide CCAP Tiered Quality Based Bonuses. Make a tiered quality-based CCAP bonus available to providers that participate in Bright & Early ND, our state's QRIS, and have a Step, 2, 3, or 4 quality rating.
Status: Coming fall 2023
Invest in the Child Care Assistance Program. Expanded resources available to the state’s child care assistance program (CCAP) to 3,000 children from the ages of zero to three make a difference for more families in more industries in more parts of North Dakota.
Expand the Working Parents Child Care Relief Pilot Program. Expanded access to the cost-share program that supports an employer-provided child care benefit to help working families with children ages zero to three pay for child care.
Increase Provider Reimbursements for Infant/Toddler Care. Incentivized the availability of child care for infants and toddlers whose families receive child care assistance by increasing the rate the state pays for children younger than age three.
Provide Resources and Support to Child Care Providers. Support a more sustainable, stable child care sector by offering grants, incentives, and shared service resources to child care businesses.
Create Partnership(s) for Care during Non-Traditional Hours. Pilot ideas that make child care more available during non-typical hours. Partner with employers to identify creative solutions for working families whose jobs require non-traditional child care solutions.
Status: Projected to begin in 2024