BRATTLEBORO -- Windham Child Care Association is spearheading a new child care needs assessment study for Windham County. The last report, published in 2002, provided important information for businesses, town officials and other community members on the need for quality affordable child care. Ten years have passed and our economic, political and social landscape has changed. This study will provide important information that will help all community stakeholders and partners understand the needs for and impacts of child care services in our community.
Four key elements of this child care needs assessment study have been identified: 1) to create an accurate picture of the supply of child care in our region; 2) to identify unmet needs for child care; 3) to identify available child care services for non-traditional child care and special-needs children; 4) to gather data on available funding sources for child care programs.
We know that dependable, high quality child care has positive impacts in the workforce. By understanding what types of child care are needed and the amount needed, we can begin to affect change for this service in our community.
The organization is currently in phase one: Surveys are being distributed and data is being collected. There are a variety of short surveys, including one for each of the following stakeholder groups: working parents, employers, child care providers and community partners. This phase is expected to be completed by the end of the calendar year.
Phase two will begin in January 2013. This phase will consist of a series of 3 focus groups. The end date for this phase will be March 2013. We expect the final report to be published in September 2013.
The success of this project depends on the quality and quantity of the responses that will be collecting from surveying a variety of stakeholders AND the input received through focus groups. Parents, employers and child care providers are encourage to fill out brief surveys which can all be completed by visiting www.windhamchildcare.org. Community members interested in participating in the focus groups early next year are encouraged to contact the organization.
The community’s contribution will greatly help Windham Child Care Association create a comprehensive picture of child care in our county. You may discuss your role and the benefits of the study by contacting Executive Director, Elizabeth Raposa at 254-5332 x311 or firstname.lastname@example.org.