SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — There is a childcare crisis in KELOLAND. Not only is child care expensive, but it is also hard to find. That’s why a group was formed to develop solutions in the Sioux Falls area.
The Sioux Falls Childcare Collaborative set out to hire a coordinator to oversee a 6-month initiative to come up with some real answers. The organization ended up hiring two people who will share the responsibility.
“The Sioux Falls Childcare Collaborative tonight announced the hiring of Rana DeBoer and Nicole Fluth as the coordinator team for their community-wide initiative to look at solutions around the child care crisis,” said Michelle Erpenbach with Sioux Falls Thrive.
EMbe CEO Kerri Tietgen took part in the selection process. She says they decided to go with two people because of their unique qualifications. One brings strategic planning the other works on the front lines of child care.
“They looked at the problem that exists, they looked at the expertise of themselves and said this would be better served by the two of them. They have complimentary skill sets that really lend itself well to this conversation,” said Tietgen. “So I wish we could say we thought of it, but it was really the brilliance of these two individuals that just demonstrate the innovation they will bring to this.”
Thrive, EMbe, the city of Sioux Falls and a number of other community organizations are teaming up for the project to improve child care. Erpenbach hopes the coordinators can come up with solutions in three areas.
“A sense of urgency, this is a big deal we need the community to understand it and the idea that there are solutions out there, so let’s go find some things that are working already let’s look at best practices in other places, but then let’s create a toolbox that employers can use, and that government might be able to take and use in terms of policy, those are the three things,” said Erpenbach.
According to Erpenbach, just this last week two smaller child care centers closed in Sioux Falls and the situation isn’t getting any better. So in six months, they hope to have some solutions or at least a roadmap to available and affordable child care in Sioux Falls.