New survey will assess needs & strengths of local families

Do children in our region get recommended medical checkups? Can families get the child care they need?  How many children are ready to succeed in school? Until now, we didn’t have a good source for this information. Starting this month, King County will begin to fill the information gap with a first-ever community-wide survey to help us understand the strengths and needs of local families. The Best Starts for Kids (BSK) health survey is sponsored by the voter-approved BSK Initiative (www.kingcounty.gov/beststarts), and was developed in consultation with local experts and trusted community-based organizations.  About 12,000 randomly selected King County parents or caregivers with children in 5th grade or younger will be asked to participate.  Results will be shared with the public in 2017.

New survey to assess needs and strengths of families.

New survey to assess needs and strengths of families.

How will the survey answers be used?

  • Survey results will inform the activities under the voter-approved Best Starts for Kids initiative.  For our region to continue to prosper, everyone should get a fair opportunity to succeed, regardless of race, ethnicity, ability, or where they live in the County. The survey will help focus attention on the needs of local families. BSK will fund programs related to:
    • Investing early to optimize children’s health and well-being before age 5.  Possible examples: providing parenting support; expanding preventive screening.
    • Continuing the investment to sustain the gain from ages 5 through 24.  Possible examples: mentoring; stopping the “school-to-prison” pipeline.
    • Preventing youth and family homelessness and promoting safe and healthy communities.
    • Investing in communities that have been left behind with the changing economics of our region.
  • Survey results will provide vital baseline information about King County children.  Follow-up surveys in 2018 and 2020 will track the effectiveness of BSK activities.

What are the benefits of participating?

  • Broad participation will ensure that the diversity of King County’s population is represented.
  • Participation will shape the futures of King County children, families, and communities.
  • Survey participants can compare their experiences with the rest of King County families.
  • Participants will be entered in a lottery; 1 in every 100 entries will win $150.

How will people participate?

  • Starting this September, randomly selected parents/guardians will be contacted about the survey.  They can complete it online, on paper, or over the phone.
  • The survey will be available in 6 languages: English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Russian, Chinese, and Somali.
  • Participants will answer questions about their child’s health, activities, and experiences; their family’s strengths and supports; and aspects of community and neighborhood life.

If you’re selected, make sure your voice is heard – please participate in the survey.

Find out more at  www.kingcounty.gov/bskhealthsurvey.      

Thank you to survey respondents!

We learned a great deal about who is using Communities Count data (mostly non-profit organizations, King County cities, and the County), how the data are being used (for presentations, planning, needs assessment, and advocacy), and what kinds of information are most highly valued. Topics rated “very important” by more than 60% of respondents included Income, Community, Housing, Education, Health, Food, and Families. And the 3 most important features of Communities Count were:
(1) Geographic specificity of analyses
(2) One-stop shopping for data
(3) Focus on inequities
We will be taking this information -– plus feedback about what users want in the future – to upcoming Strategic Planning sessions. Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback and ideas!