Policy Strategies & Innovations Link copied!

Innovation Name Innovation Type Innovation Subtype Features at a Glance Strategy Summary
South Dakota High School Pathways Workforce Professional Learning

High school students complete coursework + supervised work experience to obtain a Child Development Associate credential at no cost

Starting in fall 2023, students in South Dakota will have the opportunity to work toward a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential while pursuing a high school diploma. This program was designed to create a new pipeline of qualified educators who can help alleviate a staffing shortage in early education programs across the state. Students will participate in online or in-person coursework and complete at least 480 hours of supervised work in an early education program. A CDA credential typically costs about $800, but high school students will be able to obtain it for free. This program derives from recommendations generated by the Sioux Falls Childcare Collaborative and is administered through a partnership between Educators Rising SD, the South Dakota Department of Social Services, Sanford CHILD Services, and the federal Department of Education Head Start Collaboration Office.

Learn More: South Dakota High School Pathways


Huber, M. (2023, July 12). South Dakota High School Course Trains Students to Become Child Care Workers. The 74.

Sioux Falls Childcare Collaborative. (2023). Community Childcare Initiative Final Report.

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Demographics Link copied!

State population

909,824 Source U.S. Census, 2022

Rural %

42.8% Source U.S. Census, 2020

Urban %

57.2% Source U.S. Census, 2020

Number of children age 0-4

58,668 Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Poverty levels – children 0-8 below 200% poverty

35% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Median family income among households with children

$83,600.00 Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Unemployment rate

2.3% Source U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, December 2022

Unemployment rate of parents

2% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Children under age 6 with all available parents in the labor force

N/A, for most states between 65%-75% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Children living in households with a high housing cost burden

20% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

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Child population by race and ethnicity Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Race and Ethnicity

  • American Indian and Alaska Native (12%)
  • Asian (2%)
  • Black or African American (3%)
  • Hispanic or Latino (8%)
  • Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander (.5%)
  • Two or More Races (5%)
  • White, not Hispanic or Latino (64%)
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Political Landscape Link copied!

Source: Ballotpedia 2023

Early Childhood Education Programs Link copied!

Public pre-K program name

N/A Source: NIEER 2023

Universal or targeted pre-K policy

N/A Source: NIEER 2023

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Percent of 3-Year-Old Children Enrolled in Public Early Childhood Education Programs Source: NIEER 2023


  • 3-year-old children enrolled in state-funded public pre-K (0%)
  • 3-year-old children enrolled in Head Start (13%)
  • Other/none (87%)
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Percent of 4-Year-Old Children Enrolled in Public Early Childhood Education Programs Source: NIEER 2023


  • 4-year-old children enrolled in state-funded public pre-K (0%)
  • 4-year-old children enrolled in Head Start (15%)
  • Other/none (85%)
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Workforce Link copied!

2017–2019 Median Hourly Wages Source CSCCE 2018, 2020


  • Child care workers
  • Preschool teachers
  • Preschool or child care center directors
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Funding Sources Link copied!

Federal and State Early Childhood Education Funding (in millions) Source First Five Years Fund, 2022

Funding source

  • Head Start and Early Head Start Funding ($53.3)
  • CCDBG & Mandatory Funds ($21.2)
  • CCDBG State Match ($2.8)
  • CCDBG COVID Relief Allocations – CARES, CRRSE, ARPA (CCDF & Stabilization) ($135.3)
  • State-Funded Pre-K ($1)
  • MIECHV ($3.6)
  • IDEA Part C ($2.3)
  • IDEA Part B, Sec 619 ($0.8)
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Funding acronyms: CCDBG: Child Care and Development Block Grant; CARES Act: Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act; CRRSE Act: Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations; ARPA: American Rescue Plan Act; CCDF: Child Care and Development Fund; MIECHV: Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program; IDEA: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act; TANF: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

The COVID Funding Cliff

All federal COVID relief allocations, including funding authorized by the CARES, CRRSE, and ARPA bills, must be fully spent by September 2024. An analysis from the Century Foundation shows this loss of funds could cause more than 3 million children to lose access to child care nationwide – including more than 14,000 children in South Dakota.