Sioux Falls Childcare Collaborative
ADVOCATING FOR improved access to quality childcare and educational programming
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.
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:
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.
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.
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
Center for Prevention of Child Maltreatment
Children’s Health Initiative (Sanford FIT)
Encompass Mental Health, LLC
Family Child Care Professionals of South Dakota
Kelsey’s Little Penguins Day Care
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
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