New System Aims to Improve Child Care - KFYRTV.COM - Bismarck, ND - News, Weather, Sports

New System Aims to Improve Child Care

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There are about 1,400 child care providers in the state of North Dakota.  And with so many choices, deciding where to leave your child can be a difficult decision. But, the state is working to make the decision making process a little easier for parents.

There's a lot going on at ABC Child Care Center in Minot. From playing with blocks to having a tea party, the kids enjoy play time.  But, the quality of their experience at daycare may soon be looked at more closely, through the state's new quality rating improvement system.

Lutheran Social Service Child Care Resource and Referral Program supervisor Kristi Asendorf says, "They want to look at quality and use research based assessment tools to try to determine the quality and have a real objective look at it, so that it's not someone's opinion about child care and you really can use that as a guideline."

For the past few years, the North Dakota Department of Human Services has been piloting the program in Cass County.  But, they hope to expand the program to other counties in the state, helping define and refine the quality of child care centers in North Dakota.

"It will be probably a slow role out if it happens," says Asendorf.  "But, it is becoming more and more of a trend in the nation."

The new system would not only provide information for families looking for a child care center, but would encourage these facilities to meet higher standards.

"People would know what they need to do to achieve higher ratings and then, like I said, there would support to help programs that really want to work hard and make that happen," says Asendorf.

In the meantime, since there is currently no rating system in place, parents looking for a provider are given a checklist of questions to help make their decision a little easier.

The North Dakota Human Services Department is only in the beginning stages of planning project. 

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