UNITED for Child Care

UNITED for Child Care

Child care quality and affordability is a workforce development issue.  When parents are able to access affordable, quality child care, two things happen: they are able to be an engaged, active employee and their children are able to gain the skills they need to enter kindergarten socially, emotionally, and academically ready to succeed.  Research shows U.S. business lose approximately $4.4 billion annually due to employee absenteeism as the result of child care breakdowns and children who start kindergarten behind often stay behind.*

By making affordable, quality child care accessible to low-income working families, our community is ensuring that our current employees are able to enter and remain in our current workforce; as well as, setting the ground work to prepare our future employees to be successful as they join our future workforce.

Representatives from United Way, Bright & Early North Dakota, YWCA Cass Clay and YMCA of Cass and Clay Counties were the featured speakers at the June session of “Eggs & Issues”, a monthly event series led by The FMWF Chamber of Commerce that connects individuals, influential public figures and industry leaders to discuss issues facing our community. These child care leaders shared research, data and insight on how strategic initiatives, such as United Way child care scholarships, are improving access to quality child care and why and how affordable quality child care is vital to the success of our business community to help meet workforce demands today and in the future.

See full article published in The Bridge, The Chamber’s monthly printed newsletter, July 2018.

Additional resources published about child cares impact on our workforce:

Forum Editorial published June 2018

Fargo INC article published January 2018

Fargo INC article published November 2017

In the fall of 2018, United Way partnered with the West Fargo Public Schools and the YMCA of Cass and Clay Counties to provide new pre-K opportunities for children at the Lodoen Kindergarten Center.

This new center opened in August 2018 and has the capacity to serve 120 4-year-olds year-round in the West Fargo school district.

Because of United Way’s investment, scholarships for low-income working families are available to ensure that they can access high-quality early learning opportunities for their children. Early results are showing that 97% of children are developmentally on track with literacy skills and 87% are on track with social-emotional & cognitive skills, demonstrating they are more prepared to enter kindergarten ready to succeed.

It’s necessary for our school districts to have partners like United Way who have the willingness and resources to make this opportunity happen for our students and families. Early intervention means we have a chance to close the achievement gap and put an end to poverty in our community. - Beth Slette Superintendent West Fargo Public Schools. 

Since 2013, United Way has invested more than $2 million in child care scholarships that have impacted the lives and careers of hundreds of local families, and data demonstrates that children who receive child care scholarships are on track to enter kindergarten with higher social, emotional and educational skills than children who did not receive scholarships.

Research shows that child care assistance helps working parents experience fewer missed days, allowing them to work more hours and remain at the same employer for longer periods of time.

The benefits not only improve kindergarten readiness levels but also improve third-grade reading levels, high school graduation rates and dramatically increase the lifetime earning potential for students. United Way is working to remove barriers for low-income families to access quality child care. The result? More kids are receiving a higher quality of child care and in turn, they are better prepared for school and better prepared for life.

"Quality early learning is the precursor to success in school and life. Children from disadvantaged homes deserve the same chance as everyone else, and United Way helps eliminate that economic disparity through child care scholarships." - Erin Prochnow, CEO, YWCA Cass Clay

In partnership with Child Care Aware of North Dakota and Minnesota, United Way held the first UNITED for Child Care Training Event in 2018, which provided quality training and professional development to local child care providers, teachers and staff members of child care programs. More than 230 child care providers from more than 40 child care agencies received professional development.

We appreciate United Way’s investment in our youngest learners. The dual-generation approach ensures that parents have the skills to thrive in today’s workforce and provides an opportunity for their children to be ready for kindergarten. We are grateful for United Way’s partnership and dedication to helping prepare children and students to succeed. - Rupak Gandhi, Superintendent, Fargo Public Schools

*Parents and the High Cost of Child Care – Child Care Aware of America

Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) Links & Documents

UNITED for Child Care CRA Goals Informational Sheet 

Click here for more information on the County Child Care Assistance in ND

Click here for more information on the County Child Care Assistance in MN