Daycare Concerns | VideoJessica Roose | 1/28/2013
They say parents of these children have an even harder time finding daycare. But the demand is still out there for children without special needs as well, and that was discussed by a different committee in the House.
Beth Odahlen is a native North Dakotan who, after moving out of state for several years, was happy to return to Minot to raise her family.
"When we moved to North Dakota I was surprised, very, very surprised, by the lack of number of opportunities for our children to go during the day," she said.
House Bill 1422 would address the need by providing grants to 27 childcare programs in the oil patch and another 40 to 60 programs around the state. To not only keep the centers open, but to keep them from being forced to raise the rates.
"In western North Dakota, particularly in northwest, the childcare centers have increased their rates an average of 17 percent in the last two years. So parents find themselves in somewhat of an unattainable position, can they even afford to work?" said Linda Reinicke with Childcare Resource and Referral.
Owners of these centers say they will need to raise rates to stay afloat and to be able to attract quality employees to care for the children. Currently most centers around the state pay only $8.00 to $10.00 an hour.
"Current caregivers are burned out from the turnover and low pay so they`re leaving for better paying jobs. I have one that left to go pour coffee in a little coffee hut, she should be working with children," said Director Good Shepherd Daycare Director Sherry Wagner.
Wagner says her center charges $160 a week for an infant, though they are raising their rates to $175 in March, which isn`t going to be enough.
"How can you go from $160 to $300 a week? Because that`s what we`re going to have to charge to be able to pay these 15-16 dollar an hour, to be able to attract people that should be taking care of our children."
The total cost of these grants that would go to oil counties and centers in other parts of the state proposed in the bill are $13 million.
Currently there are over 33,000 children in care centers around the state and approximately 4,600 employees.