Published on January 21, 2022 at 1:45 p.m.
Like many areas in Pennsylvania, Carbon County is underserved when it comes to child care and preschool services.
The Center for American Progress deemed Carbon County a “child care wasteland” in 2018, a designation given to any census tract with more than 50 children under age 5 that contains no child care providers. childcare or so few options that there are more than three times. as many children as licensed childcare slots.
The Rotary Jim Thorpe Club partners with many local businesses and community organizations to create change. The nonprofit released a survey last week to determine the need for a full-service daycare center and preschool in Jim Thorpe.
“It’s something that has been a challenge for a lot of local families in the Jim Thorpe area and in Carbon County in general,” said Jeanne Miller, president of the Rotary Club. “We looked at data from early childhood groups in Pennsylvania and the data was clear that we need more preschools and we need quality, affordable child care. We brought in someone from the Lehigh Valley Children’s Centers to talk about their programs and their history and what quality child care looks like.
The 2018 report analyzed the locations of licensed child care providers in 22 states, covering two-thirds of the US population, and found that about half of Americans live in a child care wilderness. of children.
In Pennsylvania, 57% of all residents live in a child care wilderness.
The survey, open until February 23, is available at https://forms.gle/4o9vG166P8Wem2AYA.
Hard copies will also be available at the Dimmick Memorial Library to Jim Thorpe and the Carbon County Commissioners Office.
It asks questions such as when people work, how many children they have, what they do now for childcare, and what their needs are.
“We wanted to find out the barriers and what families are looking for,” Miller said. “So when that’s done we’ll sit down and sift through it and that will help us figure out which direction we want to go.”
The Center for American Progress reports that in the United States, it costs an average of $300 per week to send a child to family daycare, $340 per week to send a child to daycare or daycare, and $612 per week for a nanny.
Child care deserts have, on average, maternal labor force participation rates 3 percentage points lower than communities with adequate child care provision.
Miller said the child care crisis has only gotten worse as a result of COVID-19.
A Care.com survey showed that 72% of families said childcare was more expensive in 2021 and 46% of families said childcare was harder to find due to the pandemic.
“We just don’t have a full-service daycare and preschool to the point where we need them at Jim Thorpe,” Miller said. “And it’s surprising, even at the county seat, we don’t see it. We need to encourage a quality organization, a non-profit organization, to come out and support the area with a full-service daycare that serves everyone from low income to high income.
Lehigh Valley Children’s Center Inc., local businesses, Carbon County, Carbon County Family Collaborative, Carbon County Community Foundation, St. Luke’s Health Network, Lehigh Valley Health Network, Lehigh Carbon Community College SHINE Program, Jim Thorpe Area School District, early childhood groups and other community organizations.