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ND Kids and the Stimulus Package

February 18, 2009

Washington D.C. – The latest estimate is that North Dakota's share of the recently-approved federal economic stimulus bill is 500 million dollars, but one of the hidden benefits will be the state's share in roughly 142 billion dollars set aside nationally for children's programs.

Barb Tengesdale, the early childhood program coordinator at the University of Mary in Bismarck, says low-income families are the most likely to spend those federal dollars, so it's an effective economic stimulus.

"It'll help to get parents back to work, by supporting and paying child care providers, so parents can work. A lot of families have cut back on some of their child care."

Ed Shelleby with the Children's Defense Fund says part of the money goes to the Child Tax Credit, by lowering the income eligibility threshold at which families can begin claiming the credit. He says states like North Dakota could use the assistance.

"A lot of states right now are struggling to balance their budgets, and what this bill does is ensure that they will be able to sort of keep the level of services that they are currently providing to children."

Shelleby says that in addition to the Child Tax Credit, billions are to go to school modernization, Head Start, the supplemental nutrition assistance program and foster care and adoption services.

Dick Layman, Public News Service - ND