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Childcare Needs Report Shows a Lack of Access, High Cost Among Key Issues in Reno County

HUTCHINSON, Kan. – A childcare needs assessment and market study recently released has identified several major threats to meeting early care and education needs for Reno County families. Those needs include pay inequities for early care providers, cost of quality care, and honoring childcare as a service to the community and reaching underserved families.

The report, prepared by K-State Research and Extension’s Applied Research in Child Health and Enhancing Resilience Laboratory, will be presented to Reno County Commissioners next Tuesday, as part of the process to determine how Reno County will allocate $4.5 million in ARPA funding allocated for the purpose.

In January, an ARPA Task Force presented their Civic Engagement report which found that the top key spending priority was expanding childcare offerings/access. That led to the needs assessment and market study being done in partnership with K-State Research and Extension and the United Way of Reno County.

Among the key findings is that only 34 percent of Reno County’s desired capacity is meeting demand with an estimated 1,800 additional childcare slots currently needed. Pay issues for childcare providers and the cost of childcare, especially for lower-income families, were also cited as critical issues that need to be addressed.

A link to the study can be found online at https://renogov.org/DocumentCenter/View/10766/07A-ChildCareNeeds-MarketStudy.