(KXNET) — The North Dakota Health and Human Services (HHS) want employers to be a part of the new Working Parents Child Care Relief pilot program.

According to a news release, the program will match employer-led childcare benefits of at least $300 a month.

The public-private partnership will help employers attract and keep their workforce while giving parents some financial relief with the high cost of childcare for infants and toddlers.

The pilot program is the newest investment by the Burgum administration and state lawmakers. The goal is to make employer-paid childcare benefits work hard for North Dakota families.

“North Dakota is committed to improving access to affordable, quality childcare for working parents. We know that the high cost of infant and toddler care is keeping some parents out of the workforce at a time when employer workforce needs have never been higher,” said HHS Human Services Executive Director, Jessica Thomasson. “Working Parents Child Care Relief is a shared investment by employers, the state of North Dakota, and parents of young children that can meet both family and workforce needs.”

The pilot program is scheduled to run through September 2026 or until funding is exhausted.

The cost-sharing program will give funds to match participating employers’ investment in childcare benefits while supporting parents with kids three and younger whose household income is at or below 100% of the state median income directly. The household income can be up to $7,495 a month for a family of three.

“The pilot program focuses on families with children younger than age three because this is when families face the greatest economic pressure and make critical decisions about how and if to rejoin the workforce,” explained Thomasson.

Employer Requirements

Employers must be willing to commit to offering a monthly childcare benefit of at least $300 per child to help pay the cost of licensed childcare for employees that qualify. Employers who want to opt-in to participate can do that online.

Working Parents Requirements

These funds are only available to working parents who have a qualifying household income, have kids under 36 months of age (three years old), and go to a licensed childcare facility in the state. Parents need to be working in the state and be employed by a participating employer.

Parents who apply and qualify can get up to $300 in matching funds each month from HHS for every child who meets the age requirement and goes to a licensed childcare facility.

Parents can learn more about the program and apply online.

Other Help

Working families who need help with childcare costs can learn more about the state’s regular Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP). This program can help pay for the cost of childcare for kids up to the age of 12. CCAP helps those with incomes up to 85% of the state median income, which is $6,371 or less a month for a family of three.

Parents can learn more about that online.