Advertisement

Providers collaborate to bring attention to child care crisis

“As other industries have been able to start workers at base wages of $17 or $18 an hour, we are not able to compete with that. That has really heightened the workforce shortage that we have experienced in child care.”
Providers collaborate to bring attention to child care crisis
Published: Jun. 16, 2022 at 6:17 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Covid and inflation have increased the difficulty for child care providers to be able to give care and for parents to even be able to afford it.

“Typically when costs go up, the natural answer is then to raise prices. The unique thing in child care is places like ourselves, Lutheran Social Services, Boys and Girls Clubs, and other members of the child care collaborative have a commitment to making sure child care is affordable and accessible for all,” EMBE CEO Kerri Tietgen said.

The median household income in South Dakota is roughly $60,000. What the department of health and human services considers affordable child care is 7% of that, which is roughly $4,200 per child.

“That is actually not even what it cost to truly take care of a child, it’s more around $10,000 per child,” Chief Operations Officer for the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sioux Empire Kassidi Smith said.

“Leaving us with an affordability gap of $5,800 per child per year,” Tietgen said.

The troubles don’t end with affordability for parents, staffing issues also continue to grow.

“As other industries have been able to start workers at base wages of $17 or $18 an hour, we are not able to compete with that. That has really heightened the workforce shortage that we have experienced in child care,” Smith said.

“The fact that we’re talking about compensation and relating them to fast-food workers is really uncomfortable to me and it’s really a disservice to the work that these individuals are doing,” Tietgen said.

The effects of this crisis create a ripple effect that could impact everyone across the state.

“The child care industry also directly supports parents by letting them earn an income and be involved in our workforce,” Smith said.

“Our ability for this whole economic engine and our community and state to keep going relies on child care,” Tietgen said.

If the affordability and staffing problems aren’t fixed then Smith believes you will see more parents exit the workforce.

The Sioux Falls Child Care Collaborative wants to involve city and state leaders to hold discussions about creating funding. They also want to discuss with employers about creating child care programs at the organizational level.

To learn more about the crisis or to become involved just visit the Sioux Falls Child Care Collaborative website.

Copyright 2022 Dakota News Now. All rights reserved.