Infant/toddler care training will continue A $674,179 grant awarded to the Department of Social Services' Child Care Services Program will help continue training for people who care for infants and toddlers, according to Gov. Bill Janklow.
The funding is part of a five-year, $4.1 million Bush Foundation grant awarded to improve the quality of care in South Dakota.
"A recent Kids Count report shows that more then 52 percent of children birth to age six are in paid care in South Dakota," Janklow said. "This is twice the national average and more than any other state."
"That's why we must ensure that caregivers have high-quality training related to the development of infants and toddlers that will assist them in providing a nurturing and responsive environment for children," Janklow said.
The funding allowed 134 people to attend two, week-long, intensive train-the-trainer sessions on the care and development of infants and toddlers. These infant-toddler trainers now conduct training sessions for caregivers in their local communities, Janklow said. To date, 2,403 caregivers have attended 968 infant-toddler training sessions provided in 44 counties across the state.
A new focus this year will be to work with rural providers that may not have ready access to training and technical assistance, Janklow said. Infant-toddler trainers will provide on-site visits that allow for one-on-one consultation to help providers to learn more about the special needs of infants and toddlers. The award will also be used to provide small grants for caregivers to purchase developmentally-appropriate toys and equipment specific to the care of the infants and toddlers.
In addition, the grant also provides funding to five Early Childhood Enrichment (ECE) programs located in Rapid City, Pierre, Aberdeen, Brookings, and Sioux Falls. These programs promote the health, safety and development of young children in early childhood programs and provide ongoing training and technical assistance to adults who care for young children.