SIOUX FALLS, S.D (KELO) — If the availability or cost of child care in South Dakota has you concerned, you’ll soon have chances to voice that opinion. The South Dakota Department of Social Services has what it describes as “listening sessions” slated for the next couple weeks.
The South Dakota Department of Social Services says it has $38 million available to help child care. There are nine upcoming sessions: two in Sioux Falls, two in Rapid City, two in Aberdeen and three which will be virtual.
“For some of the daycare providers that are out there, they are looking at that cost going. I can’t afford to do business anymore,” said Cynthia McConniel, co-owner of Mike’s Mini Monsters.
Cynthia and Mike McConniel are co-owners of Mike’s Mini Monsters childcare in Sioux Falls. They will be one of the child care providers attending these sessions.
“This is exciting that they are actually asking us what we can do; what are our ideas, what are our solutions?” Cynthia said.
The meetings will take input about how the $38 million can be allocated to combat the child care crisis. Four of the meetings are geared toward providers and advocates; the other five are for families and the community.
“We need evening care for those swing shift parents, and the parents that are working weekends and nights, and infant care,” Cynthia said.
“Our electric bill had gone up, gas bill has gone up, water bill has gone up, everything is on the rise and we are really not increasing our rates because parents can’t afford the rates,” Mike said.
Both say the child care crisis creates a ripple that affects the community as a whole which is why everyone should voice their concerns.
“Come to the meeting and put in your two cents and have a voice in it because sometimes we don’t get that opportunity,” Cynthia said.
The first meeting will take place tomorrow night from 6-8 at Southeast Technical College in Sioux Falls. You can find a full list of both the in-person and online meetings here.