7 things families should know about the Best Starts for Kids Health Survey

Do children in our region get the medical checkups that are recommended? Do families in our region receive the child care they need? How many kids are ready to succeed in school? Beginning this week, about 15,000 randomly chosen families with children in elementary school will receive a letter asking them to take the Best Starts for Kids Health Survey to help Best Starts for Kids answer these important questions about our kids’ health and well-being.

bsk survey postcard

Developed in consultation with local experts and trusted community-based organizations, the Best Starts for Kids Health Survey is a community-wide survey to provide information about our youngest children, their families, and communities. Last year, almost 6,000 families participated in the health survey.

Whether you’re a parent, work closely with parents, or both, please help us spread the word about the Best Starts for Kids Health Survey, and encourage parents who receive the survey to take it. With your help, we can make sure our data reflects the strengths and needs of all kids and families in King County. As the survey launches today, here are the 7 things families need to know.

1.Your answers help us understand what matters most for your kids, family, and community.

The survey is an opportunity for you to share what matters most to you and your family. The questions you answer about your child’s health, well-being, strengths, and needs provide information about our youngest children, their families, and communities. If you receive a letter or phone call asking you to take the survey, please take it. Your voice matters.

2. The information you share guides how we invest in our kids health and well-being.

Best Starts for Kids is designed to build on the strengths of King County families and communities to help babies, children and young people thrive. Your survey answers provide Best Starts for Kids and our community partners information about how our youngest children and their families are doing, and what we can do to support them. Over time, the survey helps us track whether our efforts are making a difference in the health of King County children.

3. The survey is available in 6 languages. You can take it online, request a paper version, or take it over phone with the help of a bilingual interviewer.

The survey is designed to meaningfully reach community members who aren’t often included in other studies, like those who speak a language other than English. Participants can take the survey in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Russian, Chinese, and Somali. If you are selected to take the survey, you can take it online using a personal access code included in your survey letter, request a paper copy, or call the phone number included to take the survey by phone. Bilingual phone interviewers are available to those who wish to take the phone survey in languages other than English.

4. Who will participate?

We will be sending the survey to about 15,000 randomly chosen parents/guardians across all communities in King County. If you aren’t randomly chosen, there will be an opportunity for anyone to take the survey later in 2019.

5. Families chosen to take the survey will receive letters and phone calls from the University of Washington.

Best Starts for Kids is partnering with the University of Washington to conduct this survey. If you are selected to participate, you will receive letters in the mail or phone calls from the University of Washington School of Social Work Research Division.

6. We’re using the best technology to keep your information secure.

We take confidentiality seriously. All of your survey answers are secure and confidential. Children’s names are removed, and only staff trained to work with confidential information can see your responses. We save information using secure technology, and only share summarized results publicly so no one family or individual can be identified. We will never ask for any information such as social security numbers, credit cards, bank account information, or donations.

7. We are committed to community ownership of our survey data

We are committed to putting the power into the hands of communities to shape the story their data tells. Before we share our results publicly, we will host small, community-specific “data dives.” At these events, community members will have the opportunity to discuss the survey results, tell us what it means to them, build relationships and ask questions.  Once we are confident about what we’re learning, we will be able to share it more widely with the appropriate context. You can learn more about our approach to community-owned data on this blog series.

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