Assessing Child Care Capacity in Polk County

Racheal Sallee, Oregon Health and Science University
Alicia Vidana, Oregon Health and Science University

This presentation was delivered on May 28, 2020 at Western Oregon University Academic Excellence Showcase (Monmouth, OR).


There is an inadequate amount of child care services in Polk County making it a child care desert. The project aimed to create a snapshot of child care needs by gathering data from parents, employers, and child care providers. Data was obtained through child care focus groups, meeting with community stakeholders, researching CINAHL and PubMed, and conducting a community survey. An English and Spanish survey was sent out through email to those who live or work in Polk County. According to survey results, 88.8% of parents agreed there was a lack of sufficient child care services. Parents reported that quality, cost, trust, and availability are the biggest barriers to finding child care. Survey results indicate a need for further steps to be taken to increase the capacity of child care services in Polk County. These include presenting project findings to a public forum to address the next steps to the community members, stakeholders, local government officials, and community advocates. Providing sufficient and high-quality child care produces better child development outcomes, increases parents' work performance, and improves community economic development.


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