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North Dakota child care program introduces additional benefits – InForum

North Dakota child care program introduces additional benefits – InForum

BISMARCK — North Dakota Health and Human Services announced Tuesday, July 9, that child care providers and parents will see additional enhancements in the Child Care Assistance Program this month. The expansion will reduce co-payments, increase maximum funding for child care services and provide bonus incentives for licensed providers who care for infants and toddlers participating in the program.

“To meet the need for child care in North Dakota, we are continually exploring ways to leverage existing infrastructure to meet the most urgent needs,” said Michele Gee, director of economic assistance, in a press release.

“Since the inception of the North Dakota Child Care Initiative, HHS has made several effective improvements to CCAP to both improve affordability for working families and support the financial health of child care providers,” Gee said.

The Ministry of Health and Social Affairs has developed a co-payment calculator that parents can use to estimate how much their co-payment rate will change after July 1.

The copayments are a sliding scale of fees based on income and household size relative to the state median income. For example, the cost for a family of five earning $6,000 a month would drop from $465 to $239 – a reduction of over 50%.

The Child Care Workforce Benefit – introduced in May of this year – is a foundation for the new wave of welfare benefits. According to the Department of Health and Human Services website, the program is designed to address workforce and child care shortages simultaneously. Incentives are aimed at encouraging parents of young children to work for licensed child care providers.

Eligible residents must be employed by a licensed North Dakota child care provider, work 25 hours per week and meet all CCAP requirements. If qualified, copayments are waived and employees can receive additional payments for child care expenses up to the state maximum rate for full-time employment, according to the Health and Human Services Department.

The eligibility period for all benefit programs under the North Dakota Child Care Initiative has been extended from six months to 18 months. For more details on program requirements and applications, as well as provider information, visit the Department of Health and Human Services website. Applications can be submitted in person, online, or by mail.

Funding for the program comes from House Bill 1540, signed by Governor Doug Burgum in 2023. About $66 million in state funds, combined with federal funds, has been allocated to the North Dakota Child Care Initiative, which includes CCAP. The bill’s goal is to increase child care accessibility and workforce participation.

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