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Grant County Demographics

Every three years a Community Needs Assessment is developed based upon County demographics, parent surveys, and interviews with schools and service providers. The following needs have been identified from the assessment completed in December of 2003.

County-wide need for birth to five educational services

  • Grant County has a high rate of children living in poverty and one of the highest birth rates in the State. The need for Head Start services is well demonstrated in just about every area of the County. (County Demographics)

More educational programs needed for monolingual Spanish speaking children

  • The Hispanic farm worker population is growing, especially in the Southern part of the County. As families settle out in communities and quit following the work, they do not qualify for Migrant Head Start programs. Low wages and seasonal work do make them eligible for regular Head Start. Head Start services are available only in the central and northern part of the County. (County Demographics)
  • School Districts, especially Wahluke, Quincy and Warden struggle to meet the needs of children entering kindergarten who do not speak English. The Special Needs Director at Warden School District reports 2/3 or 66 of their 100 kindergarten students enter school at a three or four year old level. This was echoed by district staff in the two other schools. (Interviews)
  • FSGC is enrolling a growing number of children who are Spanish speaking. Head Start has been at 50% for the past two years. Early Head Start at over 60%. This is proportionally higher than the number of Hispanics living in the County. (PIR & County Demographics)

Discrepancy between what parents use and say they want for childcare

  • There are Head Start parents who work and use childcare. They do not routinely use licensed homes or centers, nor do they access childcare subsidy. Parents responding to the survey expressed a need for more choices for care in Grand Coulee and Spanish speaking providers in Quincy. (PIR & Parent Surveys)

Literacy needs are high for parents and children

  • Although the Creative Curriculum Developmental Checklist reports children making progress toward literacy while in the program, literacy instruction is still the highest need of the average child exiting from the program into kindergarten. (Outcomes Report 2002/03)
  • Outcome measurements also indicate that three year olds in mixed age classrooms make more progress than children enrolled in the two three-year old combination classrooms in Moses Lake. (Outcomes Report 2002/03)
  • Literacy is an issue for parents, especially those between the ages of 18-24 as well as children. Grant County has a high rate of school drop-outs. (Demographics)

AND Employment is competing with education and winning

  • Approximately 50% of Head Start parents have less than a high school degree and over 80% are not in job training or school. Parents are not completing their education even though there are still affordable or no cost opportunities to do so in the community. (PIR & Interviews)
  • Parent information indicates that few parents are attending any type of education program to improve their skills, college, basic education or ELL classes. In fact key informants are saying that parents must choose work over education in order to survive. If they do attend college, it is questionable whether a degree or certification will actually enhance their earning power considering available wages in Grant County. (PIR, County Demographics & Interviews)

Number of children with special needs increasing, services are decreasing

  • Among the five school districts currently served by Head Start, three provide special needs pre-school, one uses the Head Start classroom as its pre-school. Three out of five do not offer birth to three services. The number of special needs children is increasing but services are either limited or non-existent. (Interviews & Demographics)
  • A majority of children (56%) currently receiving services through the County Early Intervention Program are Hispanic/Latino. (County demographics)
  • Mental Health services for the birth to five population are very limited. Currently all psychological evaluations must be completed out of County for the local mental health provider. (Interviews)
  • Only one school district provides classroom aides for Head Start children who need assistance to be part of an inclusive pre-school classroom.
  • There is concern among key community members that within a few years the needs of children exposed to toxic chemicals during the production of met amphetamine will severely tax community resources for children with special needs. (Interviews)

Future access to medical services for low- income families is in jeopardy

  • The medical provider base is currently stable but there is concern that State mandated co-pays for children on Medicaid will create loss of preventative services for children. (County Demographics)
  • Adults without insurance and who do not qualify for Medicaid already have a difficult time finding medical and especially dental providers. Most monolingual families do not qualify for medical assistance. (Interviews)