Nicole Fluth and Rana DeBoer have been chosen as the coordinating team for the Community Childcare Initiative, a short-term project tasked with finding solutions to the childcare crisis in Sioux Falls.
Fluth and DeBoer bring to the table more than 50 years of combined experience in human development and a sharp understanding of the people, businesses, and leaders in the Sioux Falls community.
Fluth is an occupational therapist and founder and CEO of Functional Kids Pediatric Therapy in Sioux Falls.
“As a business owner and pediatric occupational therapist providing services in local daycares and homes, I have had a front row seat in viewing the challenges faced by childcare providers, and experiencing the stress that families are under as they seek affordable, high-quality care for their children,” says Fluth. “Through these experiences, I felt called to play an active role in improving our childcare system due to the urgency of the problems faced by all sides involved. I am incredibly honored and excited to have this opportunity. Rana and I are looking forward to collaborating with local employers, childcare providers, and invested parents and community members to develop and propose concrete, innovative solutions.”
DeBoer is Chief Vision Officer at VOLT Strategy. Her background includes nearly 15 years in leadership roles with the City of Sioux Falls, including that of Chief Culture Officer. She is an active member of the Live Well Sioux Falls Coalition and an instructor and mentor with the EmBe Women’s Leadership program.
“It’s an absolute honor to be selected to help lead this critical topic that shows the way we care for our community,” says DeBoer. “A sincere thank-you to the leadership team with the Childcare Collaborative for providing us this opportunity to make a lasting impact on the health and vitality of our great community, today and into tomorrow. I’m excited to put my knowledge and years of understanding of our community into continued action.”
A strategic partnership
The Community Initiative Coordinator was initially envisioned as a one-person position, but after Fluth reviewed the scope of work, it was clear that she wanted to pull in a strategic partner.
“Two heads are better than one,” says DeBoer. “I am excited to do this work with a smart, experienced partner that shares my same passion for improving systems in order to better meet the needs of businesses and individuals alike.”
The Community Childcare Initiative is the result of a year-long advocacy campaign by members of the Sioux Falls Childcare Collaborative to help ease the childcare crisis. 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.
Three expected outcomes
This new six-month 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.
This work is another place in time for us to come together and find solutions for a better way forward, to make time to understand the needs of our community and then find the solutions that secure our continued quality of life in Sioux Falls.
The project will be a public process — we will ask for the help of everyone in this room, as well as other community members.
Community Initiative Coordinator
“We are excited about reaching into the community to get your insights and ideas as to how we can tackle the current childcare crisis,” says Fluth. “More information on how to do that will be coming soon.”