Lynne A. Valenti
Cabinet Secretary

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Important Resource Information for Child Care Providers

The following resources are available for providers, parents, and the public. While all have links for computer download, you may also request hard copies by contacting Child Care Services at 1.800.227.3020:

Department of Social Services (DSS) Programs – Parents can find information on all programs offered by DSS in the DSS Handbook. The DSS Handbook can be downloaded, or ordered in hard copy here. Of special interest to families with children:

  • Child Care Assistance Program: Parents may be eligible for assistance with child care expenses for their children from birth through age 12 while they work or attend school. Eligibility is based on income guidelines. For more information, go to: or contact the Division of Child Care office in Pierre: 1.800.227.3020.
    • Choosing Child Care: Parents are encouraged to learn about what defines quality child care and how to choose a quality child care provider. A ‘Choosing Child Care’ booklet is a handy tool for parents to use when looking for child care arrangements and is available for download at: A hard copy of this booklet can also be ordered from Department of Social Services’ webpage under ‘Forms and Publications’:
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) – South Dakota’s TANF program provides temporary assistance to families who meet eligibility guidelines. To download a TANF program brochure click here.
  • Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) – The Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) helps eligible South Dakotans pay for a portion of your home heating costs. To download a LIEAP brochure click here.
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – SNAP, formerly known as Food Stamps) helps low-income families supplement the household’s food budget. The amount of SNAP benefits a household receives is based on its size, income, and allowable expenses. To download a SNAP Brochure click here.
  • South Dakota Medical Assistance Programs - Medical Assistance is a federal and state-funded program giving medical coverage for people who meet certain eligibility standards. Medical assistance programs include: Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for children under age 19, Low Income Families (LIF) for adults with dependent children, Nursing Home Assistance for the elderly and disabled, Pregnant Women programs for women who are pregnant, or be an individual receiving Supplemental Security Income. Of special interest:
    • South Dakota Medical Assistance Handbook: This handbook provides information about the South Dakota Medical Assistance Program which gives health coverage to people who are eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). To download the handbook, or request a hard copy click here.
    • State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) – The Children’s Health Insurance Program covers a full range of health care services with no premiums to pay including doctor and hospital visits, vision and hearing services, well check-ups, immunizations, prescriptions and mental health services. To download a brochure click here.
    • South Dakota’s Well-Child Care Program – This program helps promote the health and well-being of children and youth on Medicaid/Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). It provides preventative care and covers general health services which are made available to families once they are eligible for Medicaid. To download a brochure click here.
  • Child Support – The Division of Child Support (DCS) provides services to any father or mother who is the custodial parent or adult who has legal custody and/or guardianship of a minor child. Services are also available to fathers who need help establishing paternity. To download the Child Support Handbook for Parents click here.

Department of Education Programs

  • Head Start and Early Head Start - Head Start/Early Head Start is a comprehensive program that provides educational, nutritional, health and social services to preschool children from low-income families. Information is available online.
  • Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) – Licensed child care programs may participate in the Child and Adult Care Food Program and are reimbursed for meals served based on income level of the area or the families they serve. Guidelines assure the children are receiving nutritious meals. For more information click here.
  • South Dakota Birth to Three – Birth to Three is a program that provides early intervention services regardless of income at no cost for children from birth to age three who have a disability or a developmental delay. For more information click here.
  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) programs and services – IDEA is a law ensuring services to children with disabilities throughout the nation. IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education and related services to more than 6.5 million eligible infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities. Information is available from the US Department of Education on there website.

Department of Health Programs

  • Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program - WIC is a special supplemental nutrition program for eligible families whose goal is to promote and maintain the health and well-being of nutritionally at-risk women, infants and young children and is available statewide. For more information click here.

Parenting and Child Development

  • Bright Start Initiative – Bright Start is a comprehensive early childhood initiative composed of the following components: home visitation, newborn hearing screenings, early intervention screenings, immunizations, web site, parent/infant welcome box, and responsive parenting seminars. For more information click here.
  • Common Sense Parenting – Offered by the South Dakota Department of Social Services, Common Sense Parenting is a proven, step-by-step parent education program for raising responsible children and provides skills to help parents build strong, healthy families. To download the Common Sense Parenting program brochure click here.
  • Responsive Parenting - Responsive Parenting classes are a six-week series for parents with children ages birth to three years old and can increase the enjoyment and satisfaction of parenting young children. Parents will learn about topics such as social-emotional growth, early brain development, temperament and guidance. Responsive Parenting instructors have been specially trained in infant-toddler caregiving. For more information click here.
  • SD Early Learning Guidelines for Families - The South Dakota Early Learning Guidelines were developed to provide parents, caregivers, and teachers a list of appropriate skills and knowledge children can learn with support by the time they have finished their preschool years, which are typically between the ages of 3-5. For more information click here.
  • SD Early Childhood Enrichment Programs - The Division of Child Care partners with five Early Childhood Enrichment (ECE) programs across the state to deliver a variety of services focused on parents, child care and afterschool providers. The ECE offices are located in Aberdeen, Brookings, Pierre, Rapid City and Sioux Falls. For more information click here.