Better Wages Highlight Latest ND Child-Care Plan
Thursday, December 8, 2022
When North Dakota lawmakers reconvene next month, they'll have a host of recommendations for improving child care to consider, including a new policy framework offered by a statewide group.
The North Dakota Child Care Action Alliance said it compiled its suggestions after hosting six listening sessions earlier this year. The group is calling for the creation of a workforce fund to provide supplemental wages and support for continuing education and training.
Zach Packineau, director of outreach and programming for the North Dakota Voices Network and a member of the alliance, said setting aside dollars to help provide competitive pay will go a long way in helping care centers deal with recruitment and retention issues.
"We need to change the perception of the work that child care workers and providers do," Packineau asserted. "They're not just glorified babysitters; these are teachers, these are educators who are helping the state's children to achieve very important milestones."
Federal data show the median wage for child care workers in North Dakota is around $11 an hour, just barely above the poverty level for a family of three.
In September, Gov. Doug Burgum announced a working plan to address the state's child care crisis, including expanding the eligibility pool for the Child Care Assistance Program, and adding a state child care tax credit.
Alliance members have said the governor's plan is a step in the right direction, but also hope the state adopts a robust final plan with wages serving as a key component.
Packineau emphasized lawmakers need to keep an open mind as parents still struggle to find affordable care.
"Because this crisis is so huge, we really need some long-term, innovative solutions," Packineau contended.
The coalition said North Dakota needs about 10,000 more child care slots to meet the demand for young children with working parents. To staff these additional slots, the state needs at least 1,400 more child care workers.
get more stories like this via email
Lawmakers in the Commonwealth are considering legislation to ensure police use of facial-recognition technology also protects people's privacy and civ…
Next week, Ohio farmers and their advocates head to Washington, D.C., to push for shifting federal programs toward growing nutritious food, as …
Social justice advocates have just launched a new public education campaign. It's called "Just Safe," and it's aimed at changing the conversation …
Reducing the number of wildlife-vehicle collisions is the goal of a bill before the New Mexico Legislature this session. Sen. Mimi Stewart, D-…
A Nevada nonprofit is celebrating a 94% graduation rate among its high school seniors for the 2021-2022 school year. Tami Hance-Lehr. CEO and state …
Super Bowl LVII is right around the corner, which means Arizona will see hefty spending and wide exposure because of the massive sporting event…
Health and Wellness
It is not a pandemic yet, but eye doctors worry the constant use of digital devices could eventually result in long-term health problems for many …
Maine's small farmers are encouraged to complete the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture census to ensure they have a voice in federal decisions …