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North Dakota increases number of families eligible for child care assistance

North Dakotan families who have a higher monthly income can now qualify for the state's Child Care Assistance Program, as the state increased the program's qualifying income criteria from 65% of

Child care daycare
Rhoda Elmi plays with 1-year-old Suheila Abdullahi Mohamed at Jasmin Child Care in south Fargo.
Forum file photo
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BISMARCK — The North Dakota Department of Human Services on Tuesday, Feb. 15, announced it increased the number of families in the state who are eligible for child care assistance funds by expanding its income criteria.

North Dakotan families who have a higher monthly income can now qualify for the state's Child Care Assistance Program. The state increased the program's qualifying income criteria from 65% of North Dakota's median income to 85%. For example, a three-person family with a household income of $6,193 per month now qualifies, compared to the state's previous monthly income threshold for a family of this size which was $4,372.

The criteria change allows more families to qualify for child care assistance so adults can easily work, attend school or apply and interview for jobs while ensuring their child has quality child care, according to the Department of Human Services.

The North Dakota Legislature during its special session last November allocated funds from President Joe Biden's American Rescue Plan Act stimulus package to widen access to child care assistance and support child care needs.

From July to December of last year, North Dakota paid an average of $715 per child each month to the average 3,075 children who qualified per month, the Department said.

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The child care assistance is paid directly to the licensed child care providers, and the program also helps pay for registration charged by the child care centers.

The assistance doled out to qualifying families depends on the age of the child, type of licensed child care and whether the child is attending child care full or part time, the Department said.

Families can apply for North Dakota's Child Care Assistance Program at www.applyforhelp.nd.gov and learn about qualifying income levels at www.nd.gov/dhs/services.financialhelp/childcare.html.

Michelle (she/her, English speaker) is a Bismarck-based journalist for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead and Report for America, a national service organization that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on under-covered topics and communities.
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