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Parents of school age children searching for safe child care options


With some North Dakota school districts having a mix of in-person and online learning, some families are looking for information about safe and quality child care for their school age children.

There are about 1600 licensed and self-declared child care providers serving children up to age 12 in North Dakota communities. And during this pandemic, the state has provided some modified operating practices for licensed child care providers, to keep children and staff safe.

"They include screening questions, and daily checks of children and staff," said the statewide manager for early childhood services in the state Department of Human Services, Carmen Traeholt.

Traeholt said the group sizes are staying at a maximum of 15 people, including students and staff.

"There are important things in place to keep everyone safe," Traeholt said. She also said parents she's talked with are happy with those precautions.

"I fell that does help parents feel good about dropping their children off during these times," Traeholt said.

The state is also helping the child care providers during these times.  The Child Care Emergency Operating Grant has helped over 800 providers with additional health and safety practices, as well as staffing challenges.

"It does put a strain on following our licensing capacity because of that group size," Traeholt said. "But at this point, the child care programs have done a really good job of networking, and if there's a spot available somewhere else when they can't fit a family in, they will help families find child care."

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