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South Dakota

Our key ally and grantee in South Dakota, United Way of the Black Hills, works through Early Learner South Dakota to advocate at the local and state level to improve policy for early care and education in the state.

2020 State Policy Environment and Progress

State early childhood policy progress is dependent both on the state’s policy environment and the numerous efforts — by those listed on this page and many others — who worked both independently and collaboratively to achieve wins for young children.

Advocacy Landscape:


2020 Policy Environment and Progress:

Estimated FY20 State General Fund Expenditures

House (R), Senate (R)
Governor (R)

40,887 Young Children (0-8) are Below 200% FPL

The policy climate in South Dakota for early childhood is challenging, but because South Dakotans have been unable to return to work due to lack of child care, the conversation is shifting. Several state departments have opened their doors to early childhood advocates.

Advocates worked to direct CARES Act funding to regulated child care providers. The state waived for a short time some requirements to maintain state benefits. Advocates also helped to pass a paid family leave bill inSouth Dakota.

Download the full 50-State report.

The Alliance for Early Success 2020 50-State Progress Report on Early Childhood Policy expands state data (disaggregating low-income young children by race) and provides high-level state policy trend analysis for the nation as a whole. Click the cover to go to the download page.

State Budget Data: National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO), “Table 4: Fiscal 2020 State General Fund, Estimated (Millions); The Fiscal Survey of the States.” Spring, 2020
Low-Income Data (including disaggregation by race): National Center for Children in Poverty, “NCCP Analysis of ACS 1-year Estimates—Public Use Microdata Sample, 2019.”
State Action Data: Provided by state advocates, October-November 2020, with analysis and synthesis by Frontera Strategy for Alliance for Early Success, “Protecting Progress and Investing in Scale: The 2020 50-State Progress Report on Early Childhood Education Policy.”
Additional State Actions: Mincic, Melissa,  Early Care and Education, State Budget Actions, Fiscal Year 2020. National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), October 2020. 


Top Alliance Grant Priorities for 2021

Create a list or record of all unregulated, home-based child care providers as a first step to develop a system of support and communications that can connect this sector to resources, whether during an emergency or typical operations.

Increase public awareness of the importance of quality early learning experiences among parents, the general public, elected officials, and candidates for office.

Convene early childhood advocates at a Public Policy Forum during the legislative session.

Increase access to accurate data about the supply and demand of early care and education in the state, including the capacity to disaggregate by race and understand potential inequities in the system.