Qualifying North Dakota families to receive extra help with child care costs

Heather Steffl

Qualifying North Dakota families to receive extra help with child care costs

BISMARCK – Child care is a vital and costly service for working parents in North Dakota where almost three out of every four parents of children age five and younger are in the workforce.

North Dakota families who participate in the Child Care Assistance Program are benefiting from additional federal funding authorized late last year in response to the pandemic.

A child’s mind is overly sensitive and malleable and gets affected pretty quickly by how their parents, siblings and close ones treat them. Also you should be really careful when talking to your child because words once said cannot be taken back. DepositPhotos (courtesy)

Beginning in April (for care provided in March), the North Dakota Department of Human Services began waiving participating families’ co-payments. The program will pay the family cost-share amount. Participating families and providers have been notified by mail.

CCAP is generally available to North Dakota families earning up to 60 percent of the state median income, which is $4,233 a month for a family of three. Child care assistance is paid directly to providers unless a child care provider requests payment be made to the family.

Family co-payments average about $150 per month but can vary greatly. A participating family’s co-pay is based on family income and household size.

Husbands and wives are not the only victims of divorce — so are the children. It’s important to care for a child's feelings during the divorce process. Depending on the child's age, talk to him with sincerity. Be open. Be honest. Try not to speak negatively about your ex, and be mindful of things that might be causing your child pain. ©istockphoto.com/Squaredpixels (courtesy)

CCAP provider rates are developed from a market survey and factor in the age of the child attending child care, the hours of care needed, and the type of child care setting, which can range from an approved relative to self-declared child care providers, licensed home child care, or child care centers.

DHS remains committed to supporting families and child care providers during the pandemic.

CCAP has made other program changes to support participating families. Typically, CCAP pays for child care provided while parents work or attend school or training. Effective March 1, 2021 through Sept. 30, 2022, CCAP will also pay for up to three months of child care provided while parents are involved in job search activities. Unemployed parents who need child care while they search for work, apply and participate in job interviews are also encouraged to apply for CCAP.

DHS is also paying CCAP providers at the maximum state rate allowed for each child based on their approved care level, whether full-time or part-time. A sliding fee schedule showing rates and family co-pay amounts is online at www.nd.gov/dhs/services/financialhelp/childcare.html. For example, if a family has a 2-year-old child attending a center full-time, the provider will receive the full $790 full-time state monthly rate.

CCAP has also continued to pay providers for authorized care hours even when a child is absent due to household quarantine or other allowed reasons.

During the last state fiscal year, which ended June 30, 2020, CCAP served an average of 2,780 North Dakota children every month and provided about $1.3 million per month in child care subsidies, which is about $467 per child, per month.

If families are struggling with the cost of child care, they are encouraged learn more about child care assistance. Parents can apply at a local human service zone office (formerly called county social service offices) or online at www.nd.gov/dhs/eligibility/index.html.

In December 2020, Congress approved $10 billion in supplemental Child Care and Development Fund resources in the federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act.

K. William Boyer is the Managing Editor of the Devils Lake News Journal. He can be reached at kboyer@gannett.com, or by phone at (701) 662-2127.  

Be sure to follow Devils Lake Journal on our twitter page, @devilslakenews, and like us on Facebook!