CLINTON, Iowa – A new collaborative effort now is underway to study this region’s child care needs and challenges in order to work toward a solution. Clinton County has been designated a child-care desert — meaning three times as many children need the care than the slots available in licensed facilities. To address the issue, […]
Already a subscriber? Log in
- Unparalleled business coverage of the Iowa City / Cedar Rapids corridor.
- Immediate access to subscriber-only content on our website.
- 52 issues per year delivered digitally, in print or both.
- Support locally owned and operated journalism.
CLINTON, Iowa – A new collaborative effort now is underway to study this region’s child care needs and challenges in order to work toward a solution. Clinton County has been designated a child-care desert — meaning three times as many children need the care than the slots available in licensed facilities. To address the issue, Grow Clinton has launched a survey to solicit feedback from parents, employers, and existing child-care providers to gather data about the area’s experience with child-care options. Grow Clinton announced this summer that it had received a Clinton County Development Association grant aimed at workforce development to conduct the survey. The economic development group is partnering with First Children’s Finance to gather child care data for Clinton and Camanche. According to GROW Clinton President and CEO Andy Sokolovich, the survey – which opened Oct. 1 – is off to a strong start. “Grow Clinton has been involved in the child care discussion for several years, working with the Iowa Women’s Foundation,” he told the QCBJ. “However, this is the first time we had the financial ability to consult with and hire a third party to conduct a thorough analysis of our market.” The goal of the survey, the GROW Clinton leader said “is to determine if we have adequate available spaces to support the demand.” “From my experience, we began the search for child care as soon as we found out that my wife was pregnant with our daughter,” Mr. Sokolovich said. “You must start researching centers and care providers immediately, as many have lengthy waiting lists.” The research, being conducted by FCF, includes a short survey of parents who are currently using child care or want to use child care in Clinton or Camanche in order to identify their child care preferences and the obstacles they may be facing. In addition, local employers and child care providers are being contacted to participate in surveys to provide insight into the current child care supply and how they are impacted. The results also will include data on the current supply of regulated child care options, parents' current and preferred child care choices, effects on employers caused by lack of child care, and child care providers' challenges in operating facilities. The survey will remain open through Tuesday, Oct. 31. Visit here to take the survey. "If you have children and are engaged in the workforce, you require child care. However, many abandon the idea of entering the workforce due to a lack of child care,” Mr. Sokolovich said in a news release. He added: “As employers seek skilled individuals to help in a company's growth and future success, we must uncover any impediment preventing someone from accepting a position.” The final report will include the critical research and analysis findings, including a child care gap analysis quantifying how many children need care versus child care spaces available. "Workforce and child care have a direct connection. When child care falls through, employees miss work,” Jenny Holm, Grow Clinton’s director of member and community relations, said in the release. “This results in a great deal of stress for the employee and loss of production for the employer.” Ms. Holm said the surveys will give “insight into what our communities need regarding child care options and availability and the type of support existing facilities need to operate." She added that the surveys are straightforward and take only 10 to 15 minutes to complete. “Whether you are a parent, care provider, or an employer, your opinion will help guide our continued efforts to promote a healthy and sustainable quality of life,” Mr. Sokolovich said, encouraging residents to participate. Employers who want to weigh in are invited to take the survey here. Child-care providers should use this link and parents should click here. For more information about this project, contact Jenny Holm with Grow Clinton at email@example.com or (563) 242-5702.