Saturday, January 28, 2023


A critical number of rural IA nursing homes close; TX lawmakers consider measures to restrict, and expand voting in 2023 Session; and CT groups, and unions call for public-health reforms.


Attorney General announces enforcement actions on ransomware, Democrats discuss border policies, and the FDA is relaxing rules for gay and bisexual men to donate blood.


"Brain Gain?" Research shows rural population is actually growing, especially in recreational areas; other small towns are having success offering relocation incentives like free building lots, cash, complimentary dinners and even internet credits; and researchers say the key is flexibility and creativity.

Guarded Optimism Surrounds ND Child Care Plan


Wednesday, September 14, 2022   

Advocates for expanding child care in North Dakota are responding to the governor's proposal to improve access across the state. They said it is a step in the right direction, but argued there are other solutions in need of more attention.

Yesterday, Gov. Doug Burgum announced a working plan in response to what many have described as a child care crisis in North Dakota. He noted there are more young children than available slots, making it harder for parents to stay in the workforce.

"When working parents are seeking child care in North Dakota, they're often met with long wait lists, and especially for infants and toddlers," Burgum stated.

Cost is a roadblock, with the Human Services Department reporting child care accounts for up to 40% of the average household budget in North Dakota. Burgum's plan includes expanding the eligibility pool for the Child Care Assistance Program, adding a state child care tax credit and boosting training. Advocates say the ideas provide hope, but do not focus enough on child care workers' low wages.

Erin Laverdure, a member of the North Dakota Child Care Action Alliance, said so much of the ripple effect created by the crisis is rooted in staffing shortages at day care centers. She stressed low wages play a big role.

"Child care provider wages right now are right around poverty level; the average wage across the state is about $11.19," Laverdure pointed out. "You take that wage in the face of inflation and how can you care for a family, let alone care for other people's families?"

Laverdure, who also serves as board president for a child care cooperative in Hazen, said the wage issue is definitely playing out in her setting, although the pay is a little higher than the statewide average.

"In the absence of really meaningful benefits, we're losing workers to other jobs," Laverdure observed. "I can understand that."

The Alliance is reaching out to providers and others as it crafts recommendations. The governor's office said it will update the plan as discussions continue. The proposal, which could cost up to $80 million, will be introduced to lawmakers early next year.

get more stories like this via email
New data show in California, 2021-22 state testing scores are even lower than the state's historically low testing scores. (Rawpixel/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Many of California's 13.5 million children and teens have not bounced back after the pandemic, especially children of color, according to the just-…

Social Issues

Americans continue to report low trust in mainstream media, with many younger than 30 saying they trust information from social media nearly as much …

Health and Wellness

Health-care professionals say low pay and a worker shortage have led a dramatic number of nursing homes in rural Iowa to close their doors. They hope …

According to research from the American Federation of Teachers, there were 55,000 fewer registered nurses employed in the U.S. in 2021 than in 2020. This was the first decrease in five years. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

Health-care professionals and advocates in Connecticut have said it will take sweeping reforms to bolster the state's flailing public health system…

Social Issues

In her fifth State of the State address this week, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer emphasized policies designed to put more money in Michiganders' pockets…

Since the 2020 election, GOP-led states have enacted 102 new election penalties, according to an analysis by States Newsroom and the Voting Rights Lab. (niyazz/AdobeStock)

Social Issues

By nearly every measure, voter fraud in U.S. elections is rare, but that isn't stopping the Texas Legislature from considering dozens of bills this …

Social Issues

A Republican-sponsored bill in the Arkansas Legislature would make it illegal to circulate petitions at or near polling places during elections…


New Mexico residents have two weeks to submit written comments to the Environmental Protection Agency about its proposal to implement stronger standar…


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021