The importance of Childcare in the local economy

 

"The return on investment for quality early learning is somewhere between $4 and $13 for every one dollar invested in a young child. This ROI comes in the form of money saved in the health care system, in special education and in prisons." - Earlylearnersd.org

 

did you know?

 

  • Children who fall behind in school are more likely to drop out and dropouts are eight times more likely than graduates to end up in prison.

  • 61% of children ages 3 to 4 are not in school.

  • 43% of people in SD live in a child care desert. A child care desert is any census tract with more than 50 children under age 5 that contains either no child care providers or so few options that there are more than three times as many children as licensed child care slots.

  • South Dakotans pay, on average, 11% of their income to childcare a year with one child and 20% with 2 children in care.

  • 75% of children in South Dakota, ages 6 and under, have both parents in the labor force, which is one of the highest in the United States.

  • Kids from wealthier families start Kindergarten up to two years ahead of low-income children.

 

 


 

investing in child care programs

At Starting Strong Rapid City, a mother and her children were living with her elderly parents because they could not afford their own home. When the pandemic hit, the mother’s parents were concerned with them bringing the virus back into the home from work and school.
 
The mother chose to use her stimulus dollars to rent a mobile home so she could continue to work and provide for her family. Unfortunately, soon after moving into the mobile home, she was let go from her job as they began laying off employees due to the pandemic. 
 
As she searched for employment, she needed full-time care for her child but could not afford it any longer without childcare assistance and employment.
 
Starting Strong was able to cover her child’s childcare and preschool bill through the summer so the mother could retain her residence and become gainfully employed once again. The mother was able to find work quickly and was very grateful for the support of Starting Strong.
 
“Without the funds we received from UWBH and other donors to the scholarship fund, SSRC would have a much smaller impact in the community.” - Starting Strong Rapid City.
 
United Way funding helped make this story happen by providing funding towards preschool scholarships.
 

Why are these type of scholarship programs so important?

The story above illustrates that childcare is essential for single parents that are sole income providers in the family. Not only is the parent looking for someone to monitor the safety of their child, but also educate and socialize with their child to enrich their experiences in their formative years. However, this service comes at a price, and in many cases, may eat up a major part of the parent's income, which creates other budgetary issues like buying food, covering shelter, and paying utilites.
 
Like the story above, families struggle to cover the cost of childcare which may impact their decision to go to work, and as a result, must depend on services and other resources in order to get by. In this scenario, this parent was able to get her child into a child care program and return to work AND retain their housing. Not only does this impact the family life dynamic, but also ensures that children are getting the quality child care they deserve. Studies show that children who have access to early childcare are less likely to drop-out of school and also less likely to be incarcerated. Every child in the Black Hills deserves the chance at a quality educated.
 

how does united way of the black hills play a part in this?

Through the help of our donors and other key leaders like the John T. Vucurevich Foundation, we are able to utilitzing funding to cover programs illustrated above throughout the Black Hills to allow families to access affordable child care for little to no cost.
 

how can you get involved?

When you donate to United Way of the Black Hills, you are investing in future of our local economy through affordable and quality child care. We encourage you to get involved by learning more about our Black Hills Reads program.
 
We also encourage you to consider a donation to United Way of the Black Hills, you may designate your donation to our education initiative to continue to fund these similar type of scholarship programs at numerous other organizations throughout the Black Hills.