A recently approved grant should help alleviate child care shortages in western North Dakota.
The Board of University and School Lands awarded 625-thousand dollars to communities in need of more child care facilities.
Killdeer, Watford City, Williston, Ray, and Crosby will all receive a 125-thousand dollar grant.
The grants can be used to establish new community-owned child care facilities, expand an existing publicly-owned early childhood facility, or build a new facility.
Kristi Asendorf of Child Care Resource and Referral says the decreasing availability of child care is a significant impact in the smaller communities.
(Kristi Asendorf, Child Care Resource and Referral)"They're impacted a little bit more by oil and probably have less chance to recover because of the small numbers. A small community has one child care provider and that provider closes their doors, it impacts the whole community."
The state money for the projects is provided by tax revenue paid to the state by the oil and gas industry.
Asendorf says the child care shortage is not a new issue for western North Dakota and calls it a key factor for the communities.
(Kristi Asendorf, Child Care Resource and Referral)"Rentals have gone up, their grocery costs have gone up, and if child care goes up too it's just one more thing that's going to break people. And so child care programs are trying to keep the rates reasonable, and yet by keeping rates reasonable, they can't pay their staff enough to keep them."
The Land Board received 23 applications from western North Dakota.