United Way of Passaic County released the findings for the Passaic County Council for Young Children Needs Assessment

Passaic County, NJ - United Way of Passaic County released the findings for the Passaic County Council for Young Children Needs Assessment at a community forum today. 80 community leaders, social service providers, and parents, weighed in on the results and prioritized recommendations.
Highlights of the report include:
97% of parents and caregivers reported their children were physically active for at least 1 hour each day; but over 1/3 reported that their children watch 2+ hours of screen time each day.
88% reported their children ate vegetables more than once per day; but 54% of parents reported that their children did not drink any water the previous day.
61% had children enrolled in a Head Start program or licensed certified childcare center; but lack of neighborhood activities and affordable afterschool activities are a challenge across the county.
56% reported that their children between grades K-3 read to themselves or others 3 or more times a week, but frequency of reading is much lower than the national average.
“Parents of young children in Passaic County need support from the community to give children a good start in life,” said Yvonne Zuidema, President of United Way of Passaic County. “As a community, we need to support healthy choices, early literacy and access to quality childcare for all children in Passaic County.”
In addition to the Needs Assessment, a new childcare map of Passaic County was unveiled by The Paterson Alliance. Inge Spungen, Paterson Alliance Executive Director, noted “There is a significant gap between the need for quality childcare and the availability of it in Passaic County.” A website www.PatersonPreK.org created by the Alliance, will help to direct parents to available preschool programs.
The Needs Assessment was written by the Center for Research and Evaluation on Education and Human Services at Montclair State University, summarizing the results of parent surveys, focus groups and interviews with community leaders.  The assessment project was commissioned by the Passaic County Council for Young Children – a coalition of parents and providers of services to young children. The full report is available at www.unitedwaypassaic.org/early-childhood. 
Recommendations addressing these issues were discussed by participants at Friday’s event so that an action plan can be formulated.  To join the Passaic County Council for Young Children, and to collaborate on further efforts, please contact Lynn Bocchini at 973-279-8900 x202 or lynnb@unitedwaypassaic.org.