A Cross Sectional Needs Assessment: Parents with Children Under Five in Skagit County
DeFilippo, Kathryn Louise
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Engaging families and incorporating their opinions and preferences into community actions is an essential element for implementing successful community support programs (Bailey & Simeonsson, 1988; McNaughton, 1994). The Public Health Department of Skagit County and partner organizations in early learning came together to implement a community needs assessment. A questionnaire was developed for parents with children under five that examined parental needs, preferences, and use of services for families, including Library programs, Early/Head Start, parent groups, Women Infant and Children (WIC) Nutrition Programs and home visiting programs. The intention of the questionnaire was to gauge the state of families and focusing partnering organizations towards improving the community of Skagit County for families. The respondent sample consisted of 463 individuals, with representation from 322 mothers/step-mothers, 32 fathers/step-fathers and 12 caregivers. The findings from the questionnaire showed that families surveyed wanted more community programs and activities, including playgroups. The subgroups analyzed had similarities for preferred methods of communication and different preferences for the types of programs that would be helpful. Respondents of lower income experienced multiple barriers to accessing services and were less aware of programs. This survey was the first step in using the current social networks of the community to engage families and deepen connections with families. Incorporating the parent questionnaire into annual data collection will allow community organizations to learn from and adapt to families’ needs.
- Health services