An Outcome Evaluation of the South Dakota Daycare Assistance Program

Abigail L Gansen


According to American Fact Finder, 15% of all families with children 18 years of age or younger in South Dakota (not including many families on reservations) are living below the poverty line.1 As found by Janjua and Kamal, education has a direct and positive effect on income.2 But not all social policies recognize the importance of education in their policies. Many poor parents work multiple jobs or long hours to support their families, with little hope that things will get better in the future. In 2008, the Statement of the Coalition for Low-Income Pennsylvanians found that education is crucial in helping families exit poverty.3 In South Dakota, the South Dakota Daycare Assistance Program (SDDAP) helps the residents of South Dakota pay for child care while they attend school, work, or a combination of both. Although the SDDAP provides an essential service to the residents of South Dakota, the program’s emphasis is placed on helping parents who work, not those who are attending college. Findings from this research indicate that the SDDAP falls significantly short when it comes to providing adequate resources for parents who wish to attend college full or part time. Included in this research is a correlation between educational attainment and income. This is crucial because it shows a large portion of participants agree an education has a direct, positive effect on a person’s income. Getting that education however can be a big challenge when a family is in poverty. Relying on social programs for help to get by can be risky and the SDDAP is no different. It allows participants little opportunity to rise above hardship. Also addressed in this analysis was information on parent’s desire to attend college, satisfaction with the program, and participant comments. Upon closer look it becomes evident many parents have the desire to attend college but feel that the SDDAP significantly inhibits this desire effectively keeping a family impoverished. The primary method used in this research was the use of survey questionnaires to gauge satisfaction with the SDDAP as a whole, and as is evident by the information that follows, the program is devoid of sufficient help for families. In fact this program actually inhibits parents whose desire is to better their lives by going to college.


Income; Daycare; Education

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