Simplified: Several Sioux Falls City Council members on Tuesday voiced support for funding a full-time position dedicated to focusing on childcare and other early childhood issues in the city.

Why it matters

  • The council's regulatory oversight committee has met several times this month to discuss Sioux Falls' ongoing childcare crisis – including a meeting last week when they heard from several providers just how challenging things are for them right now.
  • Councilor Alex Jensen – the chair of the committee – suggested on Tuesday that the group was ready to take "immediate action" to help by creating a dedicated, full-time position working day-to-day to coordinate further childcare solutions.
  • It's too soon to say if this full-time person would be a city employee, or if perhaps they would work for an outside organization receiving some funding from the city. But councilors are expected to have a job description ready for review within a couple of weeks.
"If you look at some of the research that has already been done ... the office of a childcare coordinator, or whatever you want to call it, is necessary," Jensen said. "We can do better, and we should do better, from my perspective."

What happens next?

Councilors Greg Neitzert and Rich Merkouris have been tasked with coming up with a job description.

Next, the council will need to decide where to house this new position.

"I don't think it necessarily has to be a city employee," Neitzert said. "But I'd definitely take the lead in funding it."

Want more context on the childcare crisis?

Here you go:

Why Sioux Falls parents can’t afford to work β€” or stay home
It costs more in one year to send your kid to a childcare center in Sioux Falls than it would to send them to a South Dakota state university.
Even if Apple Tree stays open, the childcare crisis will remain
Even if funders are found to save the Apple Tree centers in the short-term, childcare advocates agree more long-term, systemic solutions are needed to address the ongoing crisis in Sioux Falls.
Why Sioux Falls is looking to businesses for help solving the childcare crisis
Leaders of a community initiative to find solutions say there’s one group who will need to play a bigger role in finding solutions: local businesses.