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The West Fargo City Commission awarded $331,868 in grants to 27 childcare providers through the Child Care Facility Improvement Grant at their Monday, May 1, meeting. The 27 recipients include 14 in-home providers, eight school-aged centers, three early learning centers, and two group-licensed providers with spots to care for over 1,200 children.
Grant funding is issued explicitly for facility improvements that increase capacity or help providers meet licensing requirements and health, safety and building codes. The program is administered through the city’s Economic Development division and is funded with economic development sales tax. Over the next three years, up to $1,000,000 has been allocated for this program.
“We were thrilled at the amount of interest and number of applications we received for this grant program,” said Casey Sanders-Berglund, Economic Development Manager. “In awarding these 27 grants, we can impact many families who utilize child care in our community. I hope the improvements made with these funds allow centers to expand care and alleviate concerns of childcare access for working parents and guardians in West Fargo.”
Childcare access is essential in recruiting and retaining a strong workforce in West Fargo. In a recent survey distributed to all West Fargo residents, 45% of respondents reported that an adult's career in their household had been impacted due to a lack of childcare. Fourteen percent of respondents noted that an adult family member had left the workforce due to a lack of childcare. Of those impacted, 95% would reenter the workforce if childcare became more available and affordable. In a survey of business owners, it was commonly reported that employees had been lost due to a lack of childcare availability.
More information on the program and application process is available for childcare providers on the city’s website. A second round of applications will open from May 29 – June 19.