Group explores need for day care facility

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The need for a licensed daycare facility that meets state requirements was discussed with parents and local day care providers, Monday, March 25, at city hall.

Christine Goldsmith and Dawn Konold of Mobridge Economic Development, and Angela Snyder of the South Dakota Department of Social Services led the discussion on what is needed to provide the service in Mobridge.

A number of people who provide day care services in Mobridge were in attendance and despite some expectations there was very little opposition to a facility of this kind in the city. Those attending were told the meting was intended to be an open forum to discover the need for this type of facility.

Goldsmith told the group in her position at Economic Development she has had a lot of feedback on the lack of this type of facility in Mobridge. She related the story of how she had to use three separate providers for her children when she first moved to Mobridge because she could not find one that had room to take all three.

Goldsmith explained the program that is available through the South Dakota Housing Authority that includes a pre-built facility that meets the physical requirements for a state-licensed day care facility.

The facility would require a provider that has at least a bachelor’s degree in fields of education or human development and at least two years experience in child care; or a bachelor’s in elementary education and at least two years experience in child care; or a bachelor’s in elementary education; or a bachelor’s in early childhood education if working only with school-age children; or and associate’s in early childhood development. She said there is assistance through the Department of Social Services that could help the provider to meet these requirements, who is interested in potentially becoming the owner/operator of the facility.

Some of the benefits with a state licensed day care facility are an assurance that the service meets the standards for safety, nutritional, and ADA accessibility needs of children; assurance of year-round, reliable daycare services; and licensed daycare can be a draw for new employees and new businesses to the area.

Konold reported on the facility in Timber Lake and how it is operated. She said the need was so great in the community for the facility that recently another state building was added to the first.

She told the group there was no intention of taking business away from their service, but to provide an opportunity for them to have a state licensed facility and to provide the services for those who cannot find a day care services for their children.

The facility would be owned by Economic Development and rented for a small fee that would be used for insurance and taxes.

The group discussed the facility with the parents in the group voicing concern that there are not enough vacancies to take care of all the children in need of services. The providers talked about the need to be able to have some vacation time away from their businesses, which was nearly impossible because of the 52-weeks-a-year need for services.

Goldsmith and Snyder discussed the availability of funding to provide for the needs of the facility such as toys and cribs.

Goldsmith offered to help anyone interested in owning this type of facility with a business plan. She said the process to bring such a facility to town began with the meeting and there will be more information needed to pursue a facility building.

There are surveys that will be required to establish that need. Those are available at the office of Economic Development (old city hall) at the Department of Social Services and offices of Dakota Radio Group on Third Street East.

Goldsmith told the group that this is something that will not happen overnight, but will be possible if the groups work together.

– Katie Zerr –

 
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