VOA closes daycare due to staff issues

SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) – After more than 100 years in the child care industry, Volunteers of America will be closing their daycare at the end of this year. This is the last daycare closure in a year filled with serious staffing issues in the industry.

“I think we’re all aware of the need for child care, but these after-school programs are just as important,” said Sarah Hanson, director of strategic initiatives for Volunteers of America Dakota.

Volunteers of America Dakotas currently provides day care for 70 children in central Sioux Falls and offers a unique after school child care program for 100 students.

“Pick up the kids after school, and then at the youth center, we bring them home after supper, between 7 am and 8 pm,” Hanson said.

This is a service specifically designed for nurses, Smithfield workers, and other parents who do not have a typical eight-to-five job.

“There is a waiting list to enter the program,” said Hanson.

There is a huge demand for the late night after school program, but right now the VOA is limiting capacity due to understaffing.

“If we were full we could probably be around 140 people, so we definitely need more staff and we are looking for more staff,” said Hanson.

VOA’s downtown Sioux Falls daycare also operated at limited capacity most of the year.

“Our staffing issues created a challenge for us where we were not able to enroll the maximum number of young people in our childcare program,” said Becky Deelstra, Marketing Director of VOA Dakotas. “When you have a space that isn’t full, it creates inefficiencies. “

This is why the VOA has decided to close its daycare by the end of the year. However, all of its staff and all 70 families can transition to the Girls and Boys Club, which benefits both nonprofits and maintains an essential service for working families.

“It really poses a workforce development problem, when you have employees who can’t find child care, they can’t show up for work. This has an impact on other businesses in the community, rather than having two organizations that were really struggling, it will impact the programming of girls ‘and boys’ clubs by allowing them to make full use of their space ” , Deelstra said.

VOA’s after-school care will continue as usual, and if they can increase their staff for this program, they hope to serve more children. At this time, there is no defined plan for what will happen to the building currently used for the VOA daycare.

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