Responses offer valuable insight on local child care needs
A survey conducted by Brookings Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) earlier this year delivered a comprehensive analysis of child care in Brookings County. The primary purpose of this assessment was to obtain locally derived data and information that can be used to guide community-based actions and outcomes around the issues of child care.
The survey was completed by 890 individuals, providing important insight on quantifying the child care need, accessibility, affordability and quality. Some of the highlights of the compiled results include:
- The current need for child care is ever-growing. 60% of survey participants are currently utilizing child care, while nearly 16% of respondents have a future need or are currently looking to secure child care.
- 80% of respondents do not feel that Brookings County has a sufficient number of child care options.
- Survey respondents indicated they were happy with their child care provider in terms of overall quality with the average rating of 8.8 out of 10.
- 28% of respondents are currently utilizing unregistered, in-home care.
“Child care is an important part of the Brookings County economic ecosystem to help children prepare for success in school and life, and child care programs also provide key workforce development infrastructure that enables parents to enter the workforce, “ said Sarah Hauge, Director of Workforce Development at BEDC. “When parents have reliable, high-quality child care, they can go to work confident that their children are in a stable and stimulating environment.”
BEDC’s Child Care Survey was supported by the organization’s Child Care Task Force, a group of local individuals with knowledge, expertise, and backgrounds in this sector. A survey conducted in 2008 provided a snapshot of infant/child care issues and needs in Brookings at that time. The task force knew that this updated data would play a crucial part in identifying and understanding this significant barrier to employment.
Parents need access to child care while they work today, and the quality of child care establishes the foundation for the workforce of tomorrow, according to Hauge. “Knowing that child care is fundamental to a strong Brookings economy, enhancing local child care options and expanding the presence of quality care is a high-priority for BEDC’s Child Care Task Force” she said. “This group is very passionate about creating positive change through community-wide conversations.”
The complete survey report can be found online at brookingsedc.com/childcare. Readers are encouraged to direct all inquiries to BEDC by calling (605) 697.8103 or by emailing Hauge at Sarah@BrookingsEDC.com or Dawn Petterson, Workforce Analyst at Dawn@BrookingsEDC.com.
*Data from the survey report was collected from January 27, 2020 through February 17, 2020 and represents pre-Coronavirus information.