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HHS covers childcare costs for childcare employees

North Dakota is struggling with a childcare workforce shortage. The lower wages that Child Care centers offer their employees help keep the costs down for parents, but they also make it less practical for people to enter the childcare field.

HHS has a new benefit aimed at addressing childcare workforce challenges.

HHS Economic Assistance Director Michele Gee says the ND Child Care Assistance Program will make it more attractive for people who want to work in early childhood to do so.

"For the program we are able to pay 100% of their childcare costs."

Gee says childcare employees who work a minimum of 25 hours per week can access the benefit regardless of income, as long as they work in a licensed childcare program. She says any number of the employee’s children will be covered up to the age of 12. As part of this benefit, childcare workers will also have any required co-payment waived.

Gee says not only will this program help the employees, but it will help increase overall childcare capacity across the state, making childcare more accessible and available for parents looking for childcare.

"Primarily the objective is to really alleviate one of the states of major barriers, and that is workforce participation. Helping to increase the capacity of our childcare industry, while supporting those childcare employees, will hopefully help with alleviating that workforce barrier."

Childcare employees can begin applying for the Child Care Assistance Program June first.