January 9, 2022 | By Melissa Gjellstad, Grand Forks, ND
The Grand Forks Herald Editorial board is right, we need to figure out a way to make child care more affordable for North Dakota’s working families. It’s really expensive, even with just one kid. One year of child care is equivalent to a year’s tuition at UND. It doesn’t make sense to go to work if you are paying more for child care than you are earning from that job. We need to solve this puzzle if we want to get more parents back to work and retain them at workplaces.
Grand Forks Senator Ray Holmberg, however, is totally out of touch with working parents like me. His outlandish answer to our child care crisis is creating “low interest loans to pay for child care.” Asking parents to take out a loan so they can go to work is completely absurd. We need to bring costs down for families, not kick-the-can down the road and saddle parents with more debt.
At the same time, we need to aid child care providers by enabling them to provide high-quality early education and retain their talented staff. Rural and urban communities lack sufficient openings for the children needing care. We must find a better way forward.
If we really want families to live and work in North Dakota, we need to collaborate to ensure everyone a quality life – not offer financing plans for one they can’t afford. Let’s get to work on some real solutions to make child care more accessible and affordable.
As submitted to Prairie Action ND