A short-term Community Childcare Initiative launching this fall is the result of a year-long advocacy campaign by members of the Sioux Falls Childcare Collaborative to help ease the childcare crisis.
The group’s efforts to bring awareness to the current situation have included:
- Launching the study “Expensive and Inaccessible: Childcare in Sioux Falls, SD”
- Releasing the accompanying data sheet “Everyone’s Business: The Childcare Crisis in South Dakota”
- Hosting a legislative open house
- Supporting the screening of the film “Starting At Zero: Reimagining Education in America”
- Sharing their story with various local media outlets
SFCC members have encouraged business and government leaders to find ways to make childcare more affordable for families, and to improve salary and benefits for childcare workers. Now at the urging of Mayor Paul TenHaken, several organizations are funding a collaborative effort to research and test potential opportunities for change.
Mission: Improve Access to Childcare, Early Education
The Sioux Falls Childcare Collaborative’s mission is to improve access to quality childcare and educational programming for kids of all ages, regardless of economic circumstances. SFCC is an engagement collaborative with Sioux Falls Thrive, accessing Thrive’s resources for meeting facilitation, administration, and research in support of the two organizations’ shared goals to improve student success.
The Community Initiative Coordinator to be hired for this project will be responsible for recruiting and engaging community champions in the business and government sectors in Sioux Falls, and providing research and analysis of current and future workforce and economic issues related to the local childcare industry. This new 6-month Childcare Collaborative Initiative will have three expected outcomes:
- Build a sense of local urgency and better understanding of the childcare industry among employers and policy makers.
- Research best practices and compile possible solutions to the ongoing childcare crisis for consideration by the SFCC business and government working group.
- Develop a strategy for tangible change in two sectors:
- Policy recommendations for adoption by local and state government officials.
- Workforce development blueprint that provides sustainable support for childcare industry workers, as well as employees with childcare needs from across the business community.
Funding for the initiative is provided by Forward Sioux Falls, Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce, Sioux Falls Development Foundation, Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation, and Sioux Empire United Way. Work will be overseen by the Sioux Falls Childcare Collaborative and Sioux Falls Thrive.
Originally published Aug. 9, 2022.