Experts propose potential solutions to the crisis

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There have been two recent in-depth studies of South Dakota’s child care shortage, one examining the statewide situation and the other focusing specifically on Sioux Falls.

Here is an overview of recommendations on how to improve access to affordable, reliable and quality child care, according to the two reports.

What the Sioux Falls Childcare Collaborative report found

Here is a summary of potential solutions from the report produced by Beacom Research Fellows at the Augustana Research Institute and commissioned by the Sioux Falls Childcare Collaborative. The report is titled “Expensive and Unattainable: Child Care in Sioux Falls, South Dakota”.

The report concludes that, “Overall, the child care system in Sioux Falls is failing on several levels. The cost of child care is astronomical relative to parents’ incomes, making it unaffordable for many families in Sioux Falls, leading some parents to drop out of the workforce.

Regarding possible solutions, the report suggests:

– Increase financial support to families and make more families in Sioux Falls eligible for financial assistance. Current financial assistance is only available to very low income families, leaving many middle income families unable to qualify for assistance and unable to pay for child care.

– Encourage employers to do more to make childcare services available and accessible to employees. This could include flexible working arrangements, educating employees about tax breaks or grants available to them, creating flexible expense accounts of up to $ 5,000 for employees, providing allowances or grants for the employee. childcare for parents, provide access to in-house childcare and provide a safeguard for workers in crisis situations in the field of childcare. Employers would work with local child care providers to develop child care plans for employees and look for ways to allow parents to work from home.

SD news watch:South Dakota’s child care crisis hurts families, employers, state economy

– Expand assistance to child care providers who accept the birth of five-year-olds, allowing providers to offer financial assistance or bursaries to low-income families. Additional financial assistance to providers would also allow them to increase the salaries of daycare workers, allowing them to expand the child care slots or hours of service available.

– Look for ways to create more child care spaces for Sioux Falls children. This could include proof of financial support to providers for their expansion or the provision of business mentoring to help providers grow.

The collaborative report concludes, “The visibly failing child care system deserves to be fixed and funded to benefit Sioux Falls families, employers and the community at large.

What the South Dakota Kids Count Child Care Report found

Here’s a look at the suggestions in the recent Kids Count report titled “A Modern Economy Depends on Child Care; South Dakota can make it affordable and accessible.

The report’s conclusions are as follows: “Child care is an essential part of a modern and prosperous economy. Quality and affordable care is essential for parents to stay in the workforce. Childcare companies operate on narrow margins, struggle to pay adequate wages, and have high staff turnover. South Dakota needs innovative, long-term solutions to build a better child care system that works for kids, parents, and businesses.

Solutions suggested in the report include:

– Update regulations so that more programs are licensed, registered and regulated. South Dakota’s law allowing unregulated child care centers with 11 or fewer children is more lenient than neighboring states.

– Prioritize federal stabilization grants for child care in areas that need it most, including low-income communities, people of color and children with special needs.

– Expand federal Head Start offerings, especially in tribal communities. Data shows that only a small percentage of eligible families use federally subsidized child care programs.

– Provide grants or other sources of funding to allow the construction of new daycares or the expansion of existing providers.

– Encourage public / private partnerships to find funding and develop innovative ideas to expand access to childcare services.

– Set up a quality assessment program. South Dakota publishes inspection reports of registered child care programs on the state’s website, but the report calls for better access by parents to data on the quality of providers.

– increase the remuneration of educators and broaden the possibilities for professional development.

– Create awareness campaigns to better inform parents about assistance programs and other options to improve access to childcare services. Give up user fees on subsidized care for low-income families or families of color.

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