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Day Care Dilemma: Sioux Falls child care in high demand, long waitlists

Updated: May. 12, 2021 at 7:15 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -Sioux Falls parents are finding very little options when it comes to child care as many places are full. And with parents returning to work, the problem continues to grow.

At Truks-N-Trykes Nursery Care their next opening isn’t until January of 2023. The owner says this isn’t uncommon for day cares in Sioux Falls.

“Most centers you are going to find are going to be a year or more out just because they got families who are kind of filling back in. They already have a kid that’s in day care and then they are pregnant again. So they fill up those spots very quickly,” said Bri McCarty, Truks-N-Trykes Nursery Care Owner.

A staffing shortage is also contributing to the problem.

“You know the problem is not that different from, you know, the fast-food restaurants or clothing stores, retail outlets. They are all facing the same issue,” said Randy Stewart, Apple Tree Children’s Center Executive Director.

Day cares must adhere to certain ratios of providers to kids. If there isn’t enough staff, day cares can’t take in as many kids.

“60 percent of our revenue comes directly from, about 64 percent comes from the families. So we can’t raise wages without raising tuition and that, you know, becomes a bit of a battle because, you know, we want to help the parents and we want to help our employees,” said Stewart.

Stewart says the pandemic exasperated the problem as some employees didn’t feel comfortable working during the pandemic.

The advice these day cares have is for parents to plan early on.

“I think that you should start looking at day care and kind of pin down your top choices when you decide that you want to even start having a family. I don’t think it’s something that you necessarily should wait until you are expecting just because I think that you kind of want to have that narrowed down and find out what waitlists and stuff like that look like,” said McCarty.

Also, do not lose hope. Still, put your name on the waitlist.

“Things always change in day care though. So just because somebody has an eight-person weight list doesn’t mean that they aren’t going to be able to get you in. We’ll have the situations where grandma ends up being able to retire early and stay home. Mom ends up finding out that she just can’t leave the baby and she wants to be a part of their life and be a stay-at-home mom,” said McCarty.

Because there is such a need for day care in Sioux Falls, Truks-N-Trykes is expanding. Three more locations will be opening up soon:

Truks-N-Trykes Prep at 4801 S Hosta Avenue will open in August. They will be accepting three to five-year-olds. Truks-N-Trykes 3 moves into their new building in June and will offer infant care. Truks-N-Trykes at Golden Gate will open in October off of Madison and Highway 11.

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