Today, the Rules Review Committee passed Governor Noem’s and the Department of Social Services’ (DSS) new rules for child care licensing.
“Every family should have the assurance that their children have access to safe, excellent, and affordable childcare. It isn’t the government’s job to provide this for them, but we can make life easier for our childcare providers to meet the needs of South Dakota families,” said Governor Noem. “Our kiddos deserve the very best care that we can offer. That is how we will continue to build stronger families and a stronger future.”
Governor Noem met with many child care providers in both October and February to discuss the best ways to improve child care in South Dakota. DSS also held nine listening sessions in August. While speaking with professionals, DSS received numerous suggestions focused on the burdens of paperwork, regulations in general, and ratios for infants through preschoolers.
The listening sessions and an analysis of South Dakota’s current child care rules in contrast to federal requirements. This study combined with Governor Noem’s discussions with child care providers then led to the drafting of these new rules.
The rules review package improves the rules for child care licensing in the following ways:
- Reduces barriers to licensure while still providing for necessary health and safety requirements;
- Streamlines language, providing improved clarity and readability;
- Reduces administrative burdens, such as dictating the specific subject matter of training for providers. Providers will now have the flexibility to choose staff training topics that meet their facility’s needs;
- Eliminates requirements that were antiquated or not focused on health and safety of children – for instance, sanitation requirements were removed or streamlined where stakeholder feedback confirmed they were unnecessary or inapplicable;
- Allows childcare providers to have increased flexibility in staffing, including removing the limitation on the number of hours a substitute provider could be used;
- Adjusts ratio requirements to allow for care of up to three infants under the age of one;
- Adjusts ratio requirements for school-age children to align with how providers group children;
- Aligns training hours for large child care center with school-age programs and small centers;
- Removes unnecessary paperwork requirements;
- Removes the restriction on the number of hours a child can receive night-time care; and,
- Aligns rules more closely with federal requirements, including safe sleep practices recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.