Simplified: Apple Tree Children's Center will close all four Sioux Falls locations by Jan. 12, according to a letter shared Thursday with parents and obtained by Sioux Falls Simplified.

Why it matters

  • The ongoing childcare crisis in Sioux Falls has led many daycares to close in recent years, but this is perhaps the most dramatic example of how tough it truly is to provide care.
  • According to the Apple Tree website, the centers currently serve 800 children, which means hundreds of parents will now be looking for a new childcare option in a city that's already facing significant shortages, and, the childcare that is available is often unaffordable for many – if not most – families.
  • In the letter sent to parents, Apple Tree's Executive Director Randall Stewart cited staff shortages, occupancy costs and the impact of inflation as the reasons for the closure, noting the combination led to "financial losses too large to sustain."
"Regrettably, sadly, we are forced to suspend operations no later than Jan. 12, 2024," Stewart said in his letter.

What happens next?

There's certainly a lot more to report here, and I'll be chatting with parents, other centers, and community leaders over the next several days to provide more context about what happens next. Keep reading, and, if you're a parent affected by the closure, reach out. I'd love to talk to you.