Sioux Falls Childcare Collaborative

ADVOCATING FOR improved access to quality childcare and educational programming

5-Year Goal

To improve access to quality childcare and educational programming for kids of all ages, regardless of economic circumstances.

The Sioux Falls Childcare Collaborative 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.

Sioux Falls Childcare Collaborative Logo

 Primary Objectives:

Develop a strategy for funding that combines two crucial needs: affordable tuition for families, and a salary plan that rewards and retains staff.

Build a better understanding of the childcare industry among government and business leaders.

Provide a plan for improved staffing levels and long-term staff retention.

Create a mechanism for engaging parents and the larger community in this discussion.

Data Shows Dramatic Gap in Affordability, Workforce Support

Data prepared by EmBe on behalf of the Sioux Falls Childcare Collaborative sharpens the focus on the economics of childcare and early childhood education.

The gap in affordability is as much as $636 million per year, based on the more than 54,000 children who rely on childcare, and considering a potential wage increase to bring childcare workers inline with starting wages in other industries.

While the pandemic revealed the economy’s reliance on childcare workers, it also underscored the industry’s inability to compete for workers without raising the cost of childcare. In South Dakota, parents and providers alone cannot absorb those increases.

The solution to this systemic issue will be multi-faceted and require collaboration across business, non-profit and government sectors.

Expensive and Inaccessible:
Childcare Survey

Earlier in 2021, the Sioux Falls Childcare Collaborative released a report that confirmed what industry leaders have long understood: Sioux Falls and its working families are in a childcare crisis. The pandemic and subsequent workforce shortage pushed a long-broken service model over a tipping point.

Now, thanks to the Beacom Research Fellows Program at Augustana University, the community understands how the crisis is affecting Sioux Falls.

The study was proposed to the Beacom Fellows by Sioux Falls Thrive, which facilitates the Sioux Falls Childcare Collaborative.

Childcare Crisis - August 2021 report

Community Initiative Coordinators Tasked with Finding Solutions

The Community Childcare Initiative was the result of a year-long advocacy campaign by members of the Sioux Falls Childcare Collaborative to help ease the childcare crisis.

This six-month Initiative had 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.
childcare collaborative rana nicole

Nicole Fluth and Rana DeBoer were chosen as the coordinating team for the Community Childcare Initiative.

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.

Community Initiative Final Report Released

The initiative coordinators, Nicole Fluth and Rana DeBoer, and working group members met on a regular basis between October 2022 and May 2023. The coordinators actively engaged with business leaders, Early Childhood Education support organizations, community partnerships/organizations, state agency partners, childcare providers, and others connected to the childcare system. An extensive review of literature was completed to further understand the systemic challenges of the childcare industry and to identify multi-sector solutions that are being implemented in other communities.

On June 26, 2023, the report was released to the public.

Sioux Falls Childcare Collaborative Team Members


Bishop O’Gorman Catholic Schools

Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sioux Empire

Celebrate Church

Center for Prevention of Child Maltreatment

Central Church

Children’s Health Initiative (Sanford FIT)


Encompass Mental Health, LLC

Family Child Care Professionals of South Dakota

Helpline Center

Hope Care

Kelsey’s Little Penguins Day Care

Kids Inc.


Lil Friends Educare

Little Tykes University

Lutheran Social Services of South Dakota

Mike’s Mini Monsters

Mrs. Karen’s House Childcare and Preschool

Peace Lutheran Church

Pitter Patter Playhouse

Sanford Children’s CHILD Services

Several In-Home Childcare Providers

Sioux Empire United Way

Sioux Falls Hope Coalition

Sioux Falls Lutheran Schools

Sioux Falls School District

Sioux Falls YMCA

Siouxland Libraries

South Dakota Afterschool Network

South Dakota Parent Connection, Inc.

South Dakota Public Broadcasting

South Dakota State University

Southeast Technical College

Truks – n – Trykes

University of South Dakota


Government agency staff and elected officials are also active with the Childcare Collaborative. Included are several local legislators, and staff members from the South Dakota Department of Social Services and the Department of Education.

Interested in joining this group?

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