SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — State-registered and licensed child care providers are starting to receive financial aid from $100 million in federal funding. 

After Gov. Kristi Noem’s December budget address, the Department of Social Services started taking applications for federal funding for child care providers registered with the state. The $100 million, authorized by Congress in the American Rescue Plan Act, was being divided up into roughly $60 million in “stabilization grants” and $40 million in more flexible grants for startup costs, daycare enhancements, more efficient operations and new equipment.

The funding became tied up when lawmakers with the Joint Appropriations Committee believed the federal money needed to go through the legislative process. Lawmakers also expressed concerns the money wouldn’t be used properly. 

Laurie Gill, Cabinet Secretary for the South Dakota Department of Social Services, told KELOLAND News the first round of checks was being sent to qualified child care providers. 

“Today, the Governor authorized the sending of grant dollars to childcare providers. She is thankful for the Senate’s support in this effort to help those in this critical industry,” Gill said in an emailed statement. “We recognize that childcare is one of the biggest needs facing South Dakota’s workforce, and we are glad that we can get these grants out to providers across our state.”

The federal aid could reimburse three months of operating expenses for some licensed child care providers, but there were caps depending on the child care type. A cap of $15,000 for family day care, $30,000 for group family day care and $27,000 for before or after child care. Child care centers, depending on size, were capped from $60,000 or $300,000.