Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
In a bid to raise a lower-than-expected response rate, the Washington Economic Development Group has moved the deadline for responses to its child care study back to Oct. 10.
While some had responded to the survey, WEDG Executive Developer Mary Audia said only eight child care centers and 10 companies had responded by Sept. 28, lower than the number of respondents needed to draw up a usable data set.
“We actually have 21 (child care providers,) so I’d like that number a bit higher,” she said. “For employers … even if we could do 50, just to get a good overall cross section of Washington County, that would be my goal.”
At just over 200, Audia said parent survey responses were enough to provide some useful data, though she hoped to collect more.
Audia stressed that the survey responses would provide key data to address long-discussed child care problems in the area.
“The more people that fill this out, the better feel we have for the challenges here in Washington County and the more efficiently we can address those challenges,” she said. “Plus it helps with grants and funding in the future.”
While anecdotal accounts of a child care shortage in Washington County are numerous, Audia said only hard data from a study like this one would be pivotal to addressing the problem.
“Especially when you apply for grant funding, you need to have specific data sets to fill that out,” she said. “It gives a lot more credibility to what we’re saying and what we’re looking for. Also, it helps us to focus on the biggest needs and how quickly we need to fill those needs.”
Links to the employer, child care provider and parent surveys are available on the organization’s city-hosted webpage.