Awhile back we posted a survey about downtown amenities for the families who live, work and play there. Well, the results are in and here's what Nancy reports out from the OHSU nursing students who undertook the project:
The students conducted a survey on community health needs and wrote a paper called 'The Importance and Availability of Childcare in Central Portland'. In it they discuss the results of their survey, the importance of high quality childcare, and ways that other cities are addressing this issue. They also have an interesting take on the need to form social networks amongst families living downtown, and report that over half of those surveyed would like to see a community center and school in the central city.
Their work in some ways bookends a survey of River District employers and employees that Zimmerman Community Center conducted in March 2007. Here are some of the results of the surveyed employees:
- 78% of respondents with children under the age of 6, and 80% with children K-5th grade, have missed work because of child care issues.
- 78% of respondents with children under the age of 6, and 71% with children K-5th grade, said their productivity at work would increase if they had access to child care nearby.
- 73% of respondents who expect to be the parent or guardian of a child under the age of 6 in the near future said that the availability of child care near their place of work would influence their decision to continue working after their child arrives.
It's pretty clear that childcare near parents' workplaces is a win-win. So how come there are so very few in downtown Portland? This is not rocket science. Its economic development and community support for families. It sure would be nice to see the city take a lead on this - at the very least by expanding slots for its own employees who often wait - literally - years to get in. Just doesn't seem necessary.