The Cavalier County Job Development Authority (CCJDA) has been brainstorming on ways they can tackle a very pressing but happy problem in Cavalier County. CCJDA recently approved a new grant program to help both existing and new day cares.
By Melissa Anderson
“We have been working on developing this program since the fall. We had been hearing anecdotal stories for quite some time but when the “Langdon Area experiences baby boom with over 60 babies born in past year” article came out in the Republican and the demographic information was released from ND Child Care Aware, we had some solid statistics that encouraged us to begin working to find a solution,” Shannon Duerr, Executive Director for the CCJDA, said.
According to statistics gathered by Child Care Aware, only one third of the potential demand for child care in being met in Cavalier County. As of June 2016, there were approximately 168 children under the age of 5 with all parents in the workforce needing care. Children aged 6 to 12 who may only need part time care after school hours number over 180. In total, there are 356 children in Cavalier County who may need child care to only 119 licensed child care spots. That’s 237 children who may need child care but don’t have any place to go.
“Our ultimate goal is to increase the number of licensed child care spots available in the county. The supply is only meeting the demand by about 33 percent. We also hope that the wider availability of child care will help employers be better able to find employees,” Duerr explained.
The Child Care Grant program is now available to both new and existing day cares in Cavalier County. The need for child care is a reflection of the increase in young adults returning to the area. Not a bad problem unless the area is unable to meet the needs of those families – a need that is not slated to slow down any time soon.
According to the North Dakota Census office, the number of children in the county is expected to grow even more until about 2035. The number of children under the age of 5 is estimated to reach 284. With that many children expected to be born over the next 20 years, not to mention the continuing baby boom that the Langdon area alone is experiencing over the last year and a half, child care needs will soon be an even larger community problem.
“We want to not only encourage new growth but encourage current child care providers to stay or even expand,” Duerr said.
All current licensed child care providers in the county can get $750 each year that they renew their license and have no critical violations. If a child care provider decided to grow and offer more spots, they would be eligible for the $500 per new spot created.
“Our ultimate goal is to increase that number of 119 licensed spots available in the county, and we hope to accomplish this by not only adding new daycares but through encouraging retention,” Duerr explained.
The grant program comes at a critical time when many home day care providers in the area have years of experience but may be looking to retire while the Langdon Day Care Center is being stretched to the breaking point.
All grantees must be able to provide proof that grant funds will be used for expenses related directly to child care. Examples of eligible expenses include licensure costs, toys, changing tables, cribs, etc.
Certain constructions costs may be eligible if they are directly related to the operation of a Child Care. For example, fences and egress windows are two very common expenses child care providers encounter when starting, so these would be eligible as well.
This program is currently capped at $25,000 total, $5,000 for home-based and $10,000 per center but total is figured by using $500 per new spot created, and is first come first serve. In addition to this program, Child Care providers are also eligible for an employee training grant program to help pay for any training expenses they may encounter.
For more information on the CCJDA Child Care Grant program or the employee training program, please contact CCJDA at 701-256-3475.