Event | July 20, 2023

Business Leaders Highlight Rising Cost of Child Care Crisis in South Dakota

New report details shocking lack of infant and toddler care in South Dakota

Today, ReadyNation presented an online panel to discuss a new report titled “The Growing, Annual Cost of the Infant-Toddler Child Care Crisis in South Dakota.” The panel included parents and business leaders from South Dakota who have been directly impacted by the current child care crisis. ReadyNation members David Emery, Retired Chairman and CEO of Black Hills Energy, and Michael L. Bockorny, Chief Executive Officer of Aberdeen Development Corporation, joined Stephanie Weigand, a working parent from South Dakota, as they discussed solutions to help families and employers in the state.

In South Dakota, there are approximately 36,000 children under age 3, and nearly three-fourths of these infants and toddlers have their mother in the workforce. As a result, many very young children are in child care while their parents are working to support their families. Unfortunately, the current early childhood education system in South Dakota does not meet their needs, and the economic consequences are dire.

That is the top line of the new report by ReadyNation. The report details a staggering lack of child care availability in South Dakota: 43 percent of South Dakotans live in a child care “desert,” where there are more than three children under age 5 for each licensed child care slot. This crisis could cost South Dakota $329 million dollars annually in lost productivity, revenue, and wages.

“This problem isn’t just for current generations of workers and employers, but for future generations as well,” said David Emery. “One of the reasons I joined ReadyNation is because the business leaders that make up the organization, myself included, understand that expanded access to affordable, high-quality child care is a vital tool for recruiting and retaining working parents, while setting up our next generation to succeed, and even exceed our current success.”

“In the report we are releasing today, the business leaders of ReadyNation South Dakota call on state and federal policymakers to support families’ access to affordable, high-quality child care, particularly for infants and toddlers,” said Michael L. Bockorny. “By doing so, we can help to end this current child care crisis, and support parents and providers in South Dakota, in turn helping bolster our economy for generations to come.”

View the report here.

Watch the full panel below.

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  1. Child Care