SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Between January and April, 676 registered childcare programs in South Dakota received more than $32 million in federal grants from the American Rescue Plan.

Of those recipients, 322 were registered family day care programs or in-home providers, who were eligible to receive up to $15,000 in grants. But many city-registered in-home day care providers are frustrated they were left out of the program.

“I’ve been doing city licensed day care for 13 years,” Joy Viessman said. 

Joy Viessman loves her job and takes her city licensing seriously, saying all providers should go through stringent inspections and trainings before opening a day care.

“We’re strict, we have to go through background checks, we go through all of that stuff, just like a state ran a day care,” Viessman said. 

Viessman was registered with the state before.

“I tried it for a while, my parents didn’t like it, so I stopped,” Viessman said. 

She took issues with some of the day-to-day requirements like monthly menus, rules about sleeping with blankets or giving milk to kids before they’re one.

“The state regulations have some rules that parents don’t agree with, and when you do that, how do you decide between what the state wants and what parents want for their children?” Viessman said. 

But dropping her state certification meant she was not eligible for the recent round of federal childcare stabilization grants.

“Us being city licensed, no matter which city in South Dakota you are in, none of us received any grant, zero money,” Viessman said. 

Many South Dakota cities like Sioux Falls and Rapid City require all in-home day cares to register their business and home in order to operate. But there are some cities in the state that have no kind of registration or requirements at all.

“You will have to be a state registered provider to receive the federal funds,” Becky Nelson, the Department of Social Services Administrator for Licensing and Accreditation said.

The Department of Social Services is in charge of distributing the federal ARPA grants to day care providers in South Dakota.

“Providers are using those for operating expenses,” Nelson said. 

“One of my friends is a state-licensed day care, she used it to help efficient her home, she bought new toys for in her yard,” Viessman said. 

Nelson says similar grants could be coming soon, with the same requirements. It’s why state officials are encouraging all city-licensed providers to begin the process of becoming state registered now.

“There are additional supports that will be coming in the near future with the additional federal funds that the state received,” Nelson said.

It’s not just federal grants; the state is also adding new financial incentives to encourage more in-home day care providers to become state-certified.

Coming up in Friday’s Eye on KELOLAND at ten, we look at the role these in-home providers could play in easing the childcare shortage and the incentives being state-registered can provide.