North Dakota Health and Human Services (HHS) is reaching out to employers to participate in the new Working Parents Child Care Relief pilot program. The program will match employer-led child care benefits of at least $300 per month. The new public-private partnership can help employers attract and retain workforce while providing some working parents with financial relief from the high cost of child care for infants and toddlers.
The pilot program is the latest investment by the Burgum administration and state lawmakers in affordable, quality child care. Its goal is to make employer-paid child care benefits work harder for North Dakota’s hardworking families.
“North Dakota is committed to improving access to affordable, quality child care for working parents. We know that the high cost of infant and toddler care is keeping some parents out of the workforce at a time when employer workforce needs have never been higher,” said HHS Human Services Executive Director Jessica Thomasson. “Working Parents Child Care Relief is a shared investment by employers, the state of North Dakota and parents of young children that can meet both family and workforce needs.”
The pilot program will run through September 2026 or until funding authorized by lawmakers is exhausted.
As a public-private partnership, the cost-sharing program provides funds to match participating employers’ investments in child care benefits while directing support to working parents in North Dakota whose children are younger than age three and whose household income is at or below 100% of the state median income. That's a household income of up to $7,495 a month for a family of three.
“The pilot program focuses on families with children younger than age three because this is when families face the greatest economic pressure and make critical decisions about how and if to rejoin the workforce,” explained Thomasson.
North Dakota employers must be willing to commit to offering a monthly child care benefit of at least $300 per child for qualifying employees to help pay for the costs of licensed child care. Employers must opt in to participate at hhs.nd.gov/wpccr/employers.
Working Parent Requirements
The child care matching funds are only available to working parents with qualifying household incomes and whose children are younger than 36 months of age and attending licensed child care in North Dakota. Parents must also work in North Dakota and be employed by a participating employer.
Parents who apply and qualify can receive up to $300 in matching funds per month from HHS for each child who meets the age requirement and attends licensed child care in the state. Working parents can learn more about the pilot program, including qualifying incomes by household size, and can apply at hhs.nd.gov/wpccr/parents.
Other Help Available for Working Parents
Working families who need help with the cost of child care are encouraged to learn more about North Dakota’s regular Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), which can help pay for the cost of child care for eligible children through age 12. CCAP serves families with incomes up to 85% of the state median income, which is $6,371 a month or less for a family of three.
North Dakota families can learn more about available help with child care at hhs.nd.gov/applyforhelp/childcare.