There is a portion of the RAPID EC survey that asks parents open-ended questions about their challenges, concerns, what's helping them right now, and what they want local leaders to know about their situation. Read some of the responses from Fall 2022 below.
What are the biggest challenges and concerns for you and your family right now?
“Everything is getting more expensive, pay isn’t increasing to keep up with the amount, there isn’t enough hours in the day for a good family work life balance, and the kids are growing up fast so my husband is missing out on milestones because he’s working so much.” - Parent in Byron Center
- “...We are also still concerned about COVID-19 and are concerned that every one else seems to be moving on from it.”- Parent in Lowell
- “I have to start paying student loans Jan 1 and can't afford it” - Parent in Walker
“Our son has RSV so we're concerned about that. He's getting sick a lot at daycare. We're concerned he's a bit antisocial since the pandemic and we need to arrange more playdates with friends. He really just sees us and his grandma. ” - Parent in Grand Rapids
“Family income has decreased to meet the daily expenses of the family, sometimes we can only eat once a day”- Parent in Wyoming
“Because of covid-19, my previous company closed and I changed from full time to part time, my income has dropped too much to meet my daily needs.” - Parent in Byron Center
"We had covid and missed a lot of work and that had a financial impact on our family” - Parent in Grand Rapids
"I am not able to get the health care I want in a timely manner, which makes me worry about my health and I am under a lot of psychological stress” - Parent in Grand Rapids
“My biggest challenge is inflation and high cost of living” - Parent in Forest Hills
“[Childcare] is very expensive and two, there are limited providers. We also deal with kids constantly getting sick and then not being allow[ed] to attend daycare which results in not being able to work, or being able to find someone else to watch them” - Parent in Caledonia
What is helping you and your family the most right now?
“ Living in a rural community, natural gas is not available to us. Getting off of fuel oil & installing geothermal is our biggest concern & is our only choice to remain financially comfortable & warm this winter.”- Parent in Sparta
“Being together and the ability to still work from home some of the time [has helped the most].”- Parent in Lowell
“Libraries are a big deal to us. We value their free programs and free access to materials very highly.” - Parent in Gowen
“We did receive P-EBT (food assistance for qualifiying families in GR) which was SUPER helpful and put us at ease a bit.” - Parent in Grand Rapids
“The biggest help "comes from family, especially my parents, who cook for us and look after our children” - Parent in Byron Center
“[What’s helped the most is] Medicaid for my son and WIC”- Parent in Cedar Springs
“Loans from work place [has helped us the most]”- Parent in Grand Rapids
“Our side hustle [has helped us the most]”- Parent in Forest Hills
“[What’s helped the most is] Great start to readiness program our twins are enrolled in the 4 day preschool program” - Parent in Lowell
“[What’s helped the most is] therapy for mental health.”- Parent in Northview
Has your ideal childcare arrangement been informed by the COVID-19 pandemic? If yes, explain.
“It is basically impossible to find a fully staffed or adequately staffed daycare center that can provide appropriate, individualized care for infants and toddlers now that doesn’t have a 1-2 YEAR waiting list.”- Parent in Comstock Hills
“I have an autoimmune disease and I'm scared to be sending my child to daycare not just for him but for myself. Ideally, I would be able to care for him in my home using friends/relatives/nanny.” - Parent in Grand Rapids
What would you like your elected officials or other policymakers (for example, U.S. Congress, state, and local leaders) to know about how your family is doing or what you need during this time?
“[During this time, I need] easier access to special education, more inclusive programs and teachers equipped and willing to teach children with disabilities”- Parent in Forest Hills
“We are so grateful for the ways Ready by 5 and so many other resources allow for such a rich environment for our children to grow and learn.” - Parent in Grand Rapids
“[During this time, I need] Paid maternity & paternity leave, free/reduced childcare”- Parent in Belmont
“[I'd like elected officials or other policymakers to know that] child care costs as much or more than I make”- Parent in Belmont
"[I'd like elected officials or other policymakers to know that] we need more help. Food is getting expensive and same with gas. With winter coming heat will eat up a good chunk of our extra saved money. Now that we don’t have the extra food assistance we will have to change our budget even more.” - Parent in Byron Center
“The monthly child stimulus needs to go back to monthly and no longer be on tax returns. My child's needs happen 12 months out of the year not once a year.” - Parent in Kentwood
“If this country had paid maternity leave (longer than 10 weeks, like at least the first 6 months) we'd consider having a 2nd child but at this time we're terrified to put a 12 week old newborn into daycare with RSV and covid.” - Parent in Grand Rapids
“[I'd like elected officials or other policymakers to know that] I am a school social worker, so I see firsthand the serious levels of poverty, lack of education, and inflation costs have on my students. There needs to be reform!” - Parent in Cedar Springs
“[During this time, I need] increased informational distribution regarding parenting support classes, preferably online 'as able' to fit in with the crazy schedule of being a full time employee and parent.” - Parent in Grandville
“I'd like [elected officials or other policymakers] to know that the health services and access is expensive. In terms of travel and time.” - Parent in Byron Center