SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Finding adequate child care in South Dakota is a big issue facing a lot of families.
During her State of the State address Tuesday, Governor Kristi Noem talked about changing the state’s rules and regulations and earmarking millions of dollars to help improve child care in South Dakota.
But according to at least one group, that may not be enough.
“I know that one of the biggest challenges that families in South Dakota face today is access to child care,” Governor Kristi Noem said.
Governor Noem told lawmakers today that when it comes to providing child care, changes need to be made.
“In the coming days, we will be completing an overhaul of our child care rules and regulations. We’ve been working closely with childcare providers to rewrite these rules in a way that makes sense – while prioritizing the safety of our kids,” Noem said.
The governor also says the state will be releasing nearly $40 million in federal grant money for child care providers.
“We held several meetings with providers so that these grants will target exactly what they need – from new technology to startup funds to quality initiatives,” Noem said.
Sioux Falls Thrive, a non-profit organization that has several programs focused on children, including the Sioux Falls Childcare Collaborative, isn’t overly excited by Noem’s announcement.
“She called it nearly $40 million, it’s really $38 million or less that is left over COVID dollars from a year ago,” Michelle Erpenbach with Sioux Falls Thrive said.
Michelle Erpenbach feels the governor’s proposals miss the mark.
“We’re in a child care crisis partly because of the workforce issues childcare providers are not in a position to provide adequate health care benefits for their employees,” Erpenbach said.
Noem says the state has partnered with the South Dakota Farm Bureau to make health benefits possible.