Child Care Resource and Referral statistics show 72% of North Dakota children under age six live in families where both parents work outside the home; the nation average is only 59%.
The time our kids spend in out of home childcare is critical to their long-term development. Consider this:
- Research confirms the first few years of life are the most important for a child's developing brain
- Between birth and age five, children's brains are developing faster than at any other point in their life
- Research overwhelmingly shows high-quality learning experiences, such as those that happen in quality childcare, set children up for success in school, work and life
Through a three-phase approach, we are working toward empowering childcare professionals to focus on early childhood education. It is vital for childcare professionals to be recognized as teachers, caregivers and business people, not babysitters.
Phase One: Public Awareness
- Public awareness
- Help the community understand the impact childcare and early education have on society
- Develop a stronger Success By 6 presence in Cass-Clay counties
- United Way has made a year-long investment in this public awareness campaign
Phase Two: Quality
- Invest in programs to better equip childcare facilities to provide effective care, for example:
- access to free preschool services for in-home childcare facilities
- assessments for childcare centers designed to uncover strengths and areas for improvement
- Help childcare businesses reach and/or maintain accreditation status
- Currently, only eight of 538 facilities are accredited in Cass and Clay counties
- Accreditation requires exceptional standards in categories such as safety, education and nutrition
Phase Three: Increasing availability for infant care and children with special needs
Many childcare centers and in-home facilities have lengthy waiting lists for infant care. There are approximately 12,942 children ages birth to five in Cass and Clay counties, and only 7,508 total spaces available in childcare facilities. This is a significant gap that we need to begin addressing. The third phase focusing on access has an implementation goal beginning in year 2010.