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Letter: We must make economic security for all families a priority

Amy Jacobson, executive director of Prairie Action Fargo, reflects on the one-year anniversary of the American Rescue Plan.

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Families are the basis of a thriving country and economy. When we address the economic insecurity that many families face and ensure that everyone with young children can afford the basic necessities of food, health care, housing, child care and transportation, we are creating conditions where everyone—children, families and communities—can thrive.

One year ago, the American Rescue Plan was passed into law. This landmark piece of legislation was aimed at building a bridge to economic recovery for working families. For many people, it did just that. In North Dakota, families received 363,000 in Economic Impact Payments – $904 million in direct relief. However, thousands of working families are still struggling with economic insecurity.

Even before the pandemic, families strained to pay for child care. North Dakota Kids Count reported that in 2020, families paid between $7,600 and $9,500 on average for child care, as expensive as the cost of in-state tuition at a four-year public college.

The cost of child care for North Dakota families is approximately 15% of a family’s income, and it comes at a time when families can least afford it. With little economic support to care for a child, families are left with few options.

As we come up on the anniversary of the ARP, there’s never been a better time to spotlight just how important economic security is to building a strong foundation for children and families—for their future and the future of their communities. We must make economic security for all families a national priority.

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Amy Jacobson is executive director of Prairie Action Fargo.

This letter does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.

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