SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — To address the childcare crisis in South Dakota, the Department of Social Services is proposing some rule changes that would ease requirements for daycares.
The department held a public hearing today and heard both support and opposition from daycare providers. About 20 people attended Friday’s public hearing at the Sioux Falls Department of Social Services office. Another dozen or so commented via conference call.
“The daycare crisis is the real thing,” said one caller.
The state summary of the proposed rule changes says they are more closely aligned with the federal child care requirements. The changes are also meant to reduce barriers for licensing. A couple of daycare providers say they support the rule changes because they give them more flexibility. Some of the changes include allowing home based providers to care for three infants instead of two. Allowing group size to align with the size of the room, and cutting training requirements for staff.
Marianne Freng who owns M&M Daycare in Huron is one of the people who voiced her opposition to the changes.
“We are going backwards we are going so far backwards that it’s an unsafe environment. My other comment is, consider your own baby, and your own grand babies. Would you really feel comfortable leaving your child, your grandchild in a situation that is so unsafe,” said Freng. Freng testified that even a superwoman can’t get three infants, a one year old and eight three year olds out of a house in case of a fire. The fact remains there is a critical shortage of day cares in South Dakota and some parents are desperate to find day care, especially for infants. However Kayla Klein, the director of Early Learner South Dakota, says we need to look elsewhere to find solutions.
However Kayla Klein, the director of Early Learner South Dakota, says we need to look elsewhere to find solutions.
“We need to bring in other entities economic development, businesses, it should not just be put on the state, nor should we find quick fixes that interfere with the safety of our youngest and most vulnerable in the state, but rather than reducing barriers or decreasing regulation why don’t we look to ways to incentivize and support providers,” said Klein.
The public has until May 22nd to provide input.