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PrattTribune - Pratt, KS
  • Survey seeks answers to local daycare needs

  • Pratt residents are being asked to complete a survey about the adequacy of local childcare services and facilities. The 25-question survey can be completed at the Pratt Area Chamber of Commerce website, www.prattkansas.org or can be picked up at the Chamber office, 114 N. Main, or at City Hall.


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  • Pratt residents are being asked to complete a survey about the adequacy of local childcare services and facilities. The 25-question survey can be completed at the Pratt Area Chamber of Commerce website, www.prattkansas.org or can be picked up at the Chamber office, 114 N. Main, or at City Hall.
    The Pratt Area Economic Development Corp. board was approached by at least two businesses, expressing the need for additional childcare services, said Director Jan Scarbrough, who is also director of the Chamber. A particular issue is childcare for shift workers or others whose hours are not 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    The hope was that Economic Development “would run with it,” Scarbrough said. Establishing a facility is not the job of the E.D. board, but the availability of care is an economic development issue.
    “Quality day care is important to Pratt,” said George Nusz, board chair. “For the community to grow, we have to offer quality care for families.”
    A Chamber of Commerce committee has taken on the task to determine if more, or different types of care are needed and would be utilized.
    “We feel there is a need in the community for a day care provider who would be willing to work shift hours,” said committee member Kim Stivers, director of community services at Pratt Regional Medical Center.
    Finding reliable care for children is a challenge for nurses who work 12-hour shifts, she noted, as well as back-up care when a provider is sick, or the child is sick and can’t go to the regular provider because of the danger of spreading illness.
    Childcare is a topic that comes up regularly in employee recruitment and retention committee, Stivers said.
    Brandi Graf, a registered nurse and director of critical care at PRMC, acknowledged that an employee had recently resigned because of childcare issues. When an employee “calls in” it’s usually due to daycare problems, she said.
    She is pleased with her daycare arrangements.
    “I am fortunate enough to have business hours and have a wonderful day care provider,” she said. “But there are times when she has to be gone. I have four children and it is very difficult to find spots.”
    When Kiowa County Memorial Hospital rebuilt after the tornado in Greensburg, an in-house daycare was an employee benefit. Cunningham Child Care Center (4C) is operating in a temporary location, while a permanent facility is under construction.
    Those things “create a buzz” Stivers said, with parents asking, “why can’t we have something here?”
    “Our people would love it if we had it on campus, but that’s not in our plans,” Stivers said, noting that a hospital-managed daycare at Pratt Community College closed in 2000, with finances being part of the reason.
    Page 2 of 2 - What is being considered is similar to a facility being built in Hiawatha that will be open 24 hours and partially financed through the community’s economic development corporation and USDA Rural Development grants. It would be privately-owned, Scarbrough stressed.
    “There is probably someone in this community who has always wanted to start a facility but didn’t know if there would be a need,” she said. “We can help with that.”
    Scarbrough asks that the survey be returned by March 15. A large response from a cross-section of the community will provide valuable information.
    “It’s possible it (survey responses) will come back and say we don’t have the need we perceive, or we have all the daycare we need,” she acknowledged, although she doubts that will be the case.
     
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