A recent survey revealed working parents in Jackson County have child care concerns.

The online survey, coordinated by a local taskforce, shows more than two-thirds of those surveyed have been unable to work overtime due to child care arrangements and just over 56 percent do not have alternative options if their child becomes ill.

“It’s important to gather the information to get a true picture of the impact childcare is having on our workforce and the community,” said Marianne Torkelson, Co-op Credit Union’s vice president of business development and training who is a member of the task force. “When working parents struggle to find appropriate child care, it affects the community as a whole.”

The Jackson County Childcare Task Force has been meeting to share concerns and look for solutions as the county grapples with a lack of adequate and available childcare.

The survey, which concluded in June, covered questions about what options parents currently utilize, what type of care children receive at their current providers and if or how arrangements have interfered with employment.

Nearly 56 percent of those who took the survey said they have been late to work because of child care issues and just more than 52 percent said they have missed or been late to work three or more times in a year.

Ellen Moldenhauer, health officer at Jackson County Health and Human Services, noted survey results also revealed the prevalence of noncertified or unlicensed providers.

The county health department has resources for unregulated providers to explore regulation and help facilitate the process, which she said would improve community access.

Torkelson said the next step in the committee’s work will be to involve employers. The committee will share specific results with them and ask for their feedback through an employer survey.

“We look forward to feedback on how child care issues are affecting employers,” she said. “The survey of working parents was an important first step in understanding the issues in our community.”

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