Simplified: A Rapid City foundation is laying the groundwork for a program where parents only pay one third of the cost of childcare. It's a model that's been tested and proven in other states, and it's even been proposed as a solution for Sioux Falls.

Why it matters

  • The "tri-share" model of childcare originated in a pilot program in Michigan, where the cost was split three ways between parents, employers and the state.
  • The Rapid City version will split the costs between parents, employers and the John T. Vucurevich Foundation – a private foundation focused on providing basic needs for folks in Rapid, from housing to economic mobility to early learning.
  • Much like Sioux Falls, Rapid City is seeing a scenario where childcare costs are simultaneously too expensive for parents and not enough money for providers.
"Ultimately what we want to prove is that if you support childcare, you're supporting the workforce in your community," said Callie Tysdal, communications director for the foundation.

Tell me more

The John T. Vucurevich Foundation is investing nearly half a million dollars into a pilot program in the hopes of helping about 20 families through a tri-share program, Tysdal said.

  • The pilot is still in the early stages, and it's likely the foundation will start by partnering with one or two businesses to assist their employees before looking at rolling it out at a larger scale.

A tri-share model is also one of the solutions proposed in a recent report from the Sioux Falls Childcare Collaborative

  • The Sioux Falls proposal would split the bill between employers, parents and a community fund, and the collaborative estimated a one-year pilot program to test this concept could help 500 families for just shy of $2 million.
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.

What happens next?

The John T. Vucurevich Foundation is also working on developing a sort of online directory of local childcare providers – both licensed and unlicensed because, as Tysdal notes, an estimated two-thirds of in-home childcare providers are not licensed with the state.

As for the tri-share program, the goal is to launch the pilot as early as January, Tysdal said.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled the John T. Vucurevich Foundation name.