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ND KIDS COUNT: There is a shortage of quality, affordable childcare in North Dakota

North Dakota KIDS COUNT

A new report finds that many families in North Dakota struggle to find and pay for quality child care.

Burg says these funds should be focused on areas with significant shortages in quality child care, and on providers with non-traditional hours.

A recent report by North Dakota KIDS COUNT finds that families both struggle to find and pay for quality child care, while businesses operate on narrow margins and sacrifice worker pay.

Xanna Burg is KIDS COUNT Coordinator. She says North Dakota struggles to meet the needs of working parents; the current supply of child care and early education meets 88 percent of demand, but 14 counties are currently below 60 percent. She says in many areas, child care is as expensive as college tuition, and child care workers only earn roughly $24,000 a year – barely hovering above poverty level for a family of three.

Burg says it is hoped that money received through the American Rescue Plan may be able to improve these conditions. North Dakota received more than $130 million last year to support child care and early education. Burg says KIDS COUNT has several ideas on how those funds can be utilized.

"The quality piece is really something we'd like to see some solutions around. There is a quality rating and improvement system called Bright and Early North Dakota; really getting an idea of why more providers aren't participating in that program. The ones that do participate have a great experience, and there are financial incentives in participating. So we can use this money to figure out what the barriers might be, so we can get more providers participating and make sure that the capacity that we do have is high quality."

Burg says these funds should be focused on areas with significant shortages in quality child care, and on providers with non-traditional hours.

The full report can be viewed at https://ndkidscount.org/.