Important news for cash-strapped parents

I received a news release today I wanted to share. The North Dakota Department of Human Services announced an expansion of its child care assistance program.

Two major changes to note: 1) Qualifying income levels have been increased. 2) Family co-payments have been reduced.

“A family of three now can have a gross income up to $4,915 per month to qualify for the program. Families will also see a reduction in their monthly co-payment, which is the amount they are required to pay towards the cost of care.  A co-payment is determined on a sliding scale based on income and family size,” the news release says.

A monthly gross income of $4,915 for a family of three translates to nearly $59,000 a year. It’s worth noting that, according to this census data, 35 percent of North Dakota families earn less than $50,000 per year.

The maximum income limits for the child care assistance program increase with family size (see the eligibility chart here).

For low- or moderate-income parents having trouble making ends meet, this could mean the difference between swimming or sinking financially.

According to the news release, the program currently serves about 2,420 children per month, with an average family monthly payment of $407. Those with the lowest incomes receive the most help. It’s funded by a federal block grant and state funds.

North Dakota families can apply online by clicking here or contacting a county social service office. Be prepared to show ID, children’s birth certificates, pay stubs and a work or class schedule.

For more information, call (701) 328-2332 or (800) 755-2716, e-mail or visit