PCDC Seeks Input on Current Childcare Options

The Perry County Development Corporation is seeking input on current childcare options.

Photo Courtesy of Perry County Development Corporation

The Perry County Development Corporation is seeking input on current childcare options.

The Perry County Development Corporation is collecting data on Perry County’s current childcare options. This data will be used to determine, and then meet, the needs of caregivers and employers.

HiLife staff members Kylie Anastasiades and Bria Garrett sat down for a virtual interview with the Perry County Development Corporation’s Erin Emerson to learn more about this project.

The needs assessment survey can be found here.

More information on the Perry County Development Corporation can be found at their website.

What is the survey about, and what is its purpose?

Erin Emerson: The survey gets really in-depth. From here, we have questions like how many children do you have, what hours do you need care what are you currently doing for childcare but what would you preferred to do with the ideal childcare solution, what are your costs, what special circumstances when do you need care things like that so we’re really trying to dig in and get a lot of data out of this. The goal is so that we can really understand what are the needs in our community, so until we really know what the needs are, it’s difficult to make sure that we are meeting them or to even know how to meet them. I can share some information, which this is from 2017, but in 2017 according to some state sources, there were 1108 children under the age of five in perry county. But, for those over 1,000 children, there were 216 childcare spots, so that’s we think that we definitely have a need, but the survey will help us really pinpoint what it is.

What is the main goal that the PCDC hopes to achieve with the survey? 

Erin Emerson: I will kind of clarify a little bit – I work for the PCDC, and our main mission is the overall economic development community development of Perry County in it’s entirety. Through my role with the PCDC, I became involved with Perry Child Care because child care is important to our workforce and our economy. So, through that role, I have become the board president for Perry Child Care so I’m kind of representing both. 

The overall goal would be to get enough data where we could really look at, measure, and drill down into what are the services and needs. And then, to take that a step further, just because we identify that we need more child care in our community – there are a lot of steps that will have to follow that to find a way to meet those needs. But it’s important to get the community’s input from key stakeholders. We want to know what everyone thinks, and then if we all recognize it’s a problem, it’s easier for us all to work together fix it.

What is the PCDC long-term goal for this project?

Erin Emerson: Well, we did a survey similar to this back in 2013 – 2014, and as a result of the findings from that survey, Perry Preschool and Child Care was created. So ideally, if the findings show that we need more childcare, I hope that we’re able to find a solution for more providers or expand our current providers.

What inspired the idea for the survey?

Erin Emerson: One of the Community Foundation’s projects is to address the cycle of poverty in Perry County, and through that we proposed that investing in early childhood education and making sure there was enough childcare helps – currently, by making sure that parents can go to work, but it also helps the future, because we are making sure that all children in our community have access to high-quality education services. So in working together with them, we really want to hopefully address and impact the cycle of poverty in Perry County.

Why is it important for parents/guardians to take the survey?

Erin Emerson: Because we need to hear from the people in our community about our needs. Like I said earlier, those numbers that I quoted were from state sources, and we can get those numbers. But there are also maybe programs that we don’t know about, they’re double recording maybe, or maybe it’s worse than what the data shows, or that maybe they offer more services than they do. So in order for us to really get an accurate picture of what the needs are in our community, we need to hear from actual parents about their specific needs. And that’s where it gets in to the drilling down – what time do you need care, what time of day, how old are your kids, things like that. 

Where do you see childcare going in Perry County after this project?

Erin Emerson: Well, I think that we definitely as a community believe that we have a lack of childcare. We need more childcare. Several programs did close during COVID and did not reopen, so we’ve recently lost spots. So my hope is that childcare goes in a positive direction moving forward – that we get more options, more locations, and that we really work as a community to address those issues.


There are a few different versions (of the survey) out there, there may be a few people who have seen different versions. We have created a version for parents, and then there is also an employer survey that drills more one what they feel their employees need for childcare and works best for their business. And then there is one for educators, so we sent that to all the superintendents in the community because we would like to get education feedback as well. So the parent survey is just one of a few surveys.