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Issue Explainer

Childcare Affordability

Access to affordable child care is essential for parents to stay in the workforce. Many communities across North Dakota lack accessible and affordable child care to meet the demand for our state’s working families.
group of babies and caregiver playing with toys
Published: July 2023

The issues of childcare and early childhood education are of high importance to all North Dakotans, including the members of North Dakota United. We know that the ongoing shortage of childcare providers is preventing parents from joining or rejoining the workforce at a time when there are more than 18,000 unfilled jobs in North Dakota.

A recent study by North Dakota Kids Count has revealed that for full-time infant care, families can expect to pay between $7,600 and $9,500, which is roughly what it costs to pay the tuition for an undergraduate at UND or NDSU.

Fourteen counties in North Dakota meet less than 60% of the demand, and eight of these counties also experience high unemployment or poverty. Parents that need care during non-traditional hours find even fewer options.

Only 3% of licensed programs are open during the weekends, 4% open during evenings, and 25% open during early morning hours. For families that do find care, the cost is often out of reach.

At the same time, child care businesses struggle to stay open and often must sacrifice worker pay to continue operating. Child care workers earn $24,150 per year if working full-time at the median wage of $11.61, just barely hovering above poverty level for a family of three.

Legislative Outcome

After defeating Senate Bill 2301, a necessary $36 million dollar investment to stabilize North Dakota’s childcare workforce, the House introduced a more expansive childcare relief bill in House Bill 1540.

The bill provides investments in childcare assistance for working families, infant and toddler care, childcare employer cost-sharing, worker training, and additional needed relief for North Dakota families and childcare providers. The bill was introduced as a delayed bill on April 17, 2023. It passed through the House and Senate, and was concurred in the Senate. It was signed by the Governor on April 28, 2023.

Speak Up For Public Schools & Public Services

When we act together and join our voices in unison, we can improve the lives of children and North Dakota communities.
group of people lobbying at the ND capitol

A Union of Professionals in Public Education and Public Services

Leverage your combined power, at the negotiating table with school boards, in the halls of the state Legislature, and in the decision-making process when elected officials and administrators are determining your pay, benefits and terms of employment.

Keeping the Promise of Quality Public Education & Public Services

With more than 11,500 members across the state, NDU supports equal opportunities for success for ALL North Dakota students, and respect and support for all educators. NDU members are teachers, community college professors, speech pathologists, bus drivers, secretaries, retired educators and student teachers.