<< All News Wednesday, May 15, 2024 - 01:00 pm Categories:
Announcement, Closure or Delay

North Dakota Health and Human Services (HHS) today announced that employees of licensed child care programs in North Dakota will be able to apply to receive help with paying for child care costs for children up to 12 years of age through the Child Care Workforce Benefit beginning June 1.

Child care employees who work a minimum of 25 hours per week can access the benefit by applying for the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP). Eligible employees, regardless of their income, can receive payments through the state’s child care assistance program for their child care costs up to the full-time state maximum rate. As part of this benefit, child care workers will also have any required co-payment waived. 

Eligible employees may receive the benefit even if their children are enrolled in a program other than where the parent works. In most cases, the benefit will cover the entire cost of child care for the employee.  

“Parents who work in child care also have to think about child care for their children,” said HHS Economic Assistance Director Michele Gee. “We believe this new opportunity geared specifically to child care workers will make it more attractive for people who want to work in early childhood to do so.”

As a component of the ND Child Care Initiative, the benefit is designed to alleviate workforce shortages within the child care sector by providing an incentive to encourage more people to consider working for a licensed child care provider while also supporting parents who work in child care.   

“Typically, staffing accounts for the largest portion of a child care program’s budget and offering a higher wage is not an easy-to-sustain solution for recruiting and retaining staff,” said HHS Early Childhood Director Kay Larson. “The Child Care Workforce Benefit should help North Dakota child care businesses compete in the local labor market and support efforts to recruit and retain staff who are themselves parents of young children.”

In addition to helping child care workers and child care businesses, the benefit is expected to help increase overall child care capacity across the state. More staffing can lead to increased child capacity for programs, making child care more accessible and available for parents looking for child care.

More information about the Child Care Workforce Benefit, including how to apply, can be found at hhs.nd.gov/ccap-providers

In 2023, Gov. Doug Burgum signed House Bill 1540, which allocated nearly $66 million of state funds to work alongside federal funds for the ND Child Care Initiative. The objective of the initiative is to alleviate one of the state’s major barriers to workforce participation, child care. 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. Learn more about the initiative at hhs.nd.gov/nd-child-care-initiative.


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