South Dakota parents trying to return to work after pandemic-caused layoffs, furloughs or job changes may have a hard time finding child care as state day-care providers struggle to survive amid decreased business and increased costs.
Day-care centers, preschools and state registered in-home day-care providers were struggling against high costs, slim profit margins and a shortage of workers before the COVID-19 pandemic.
With more parents now working from home, many child-care providers find themselves paying for enhanced cleaning measures and extra staff at a time they are serving fewer children and bringing in less revenue.
Industry leaders worry that without a fully reopened economy and more state and federal support, child-care providers will be forced to close permanently, which could reduce the ability of people to go back to work, prolong the COVID-19 economic recession and increase reliance on public assistance.
In March, Dawn Wall of Rapid City closed her day-care center and it caused one parent to fly in relatives to care for her children so she could keep working.