Every other year, we ask our community to help us understand the strengths & needs of King County families through the Best Starts for Kids Health Survey (BSKHS), a critical tool to help us understand our impact. Over the past week, we’ve shared how we partner with communities to help us understand the stories behind the numbers.
Beginning today, the BSK health survey is now open to all King County parents and caregivers of children elementary school age or younger! Please share your voice through our 15-20 minute survey.
When we started virtual data dives, we were in the middle of pandemic and unsure if families would be able to or even want to join our conversations. We knew that families were stressed in many ways by the impacts of the pandemic and that “zoom fatigue” is real. We wondered: would people want to spend their time discussing our data virtually? Would meaningful connections among participants still happen when we couldn’t share connect in-person? Was it even worth trying?
However, we were amazed by the participation, sense of connection, and collaborative spirit at the virtual community cafes. We are thankful to everyone who connected with us and shared your experiences, from the families who provided feedback to the café hosts who facilitated. What we heard from our communities will help us inform the next Best Starts for Kids Health Survey and continue to support families across all corners of King County.
Coping with the day-to-day demands of raising children
Read the first blog post here.
We heard about how different communities interpreted a survey question about how well parents and caregivers felt they were “coping with the demands of parenting.” Some felt the data overrepresented how their communities were managing, as they would say they were doing well even while facing stressful challenges. Others felt their community underrepresented how well they did, as they compared themselves to high cultural expectations around parenting.
Parent Support of early child development
Read the second blog post here.
We also asked about a series of survey questions that ask parents whether they take turns going back and forth with their child while talking, playing, or exploring, talk about the things they see, hear, and do together, and respond to children’s sounds, actions, and words. While different communities shared different reactions, a common theme emerged: that parents care deeply for their children and value spending time together, yet many, especially in communities of color and immigrant communities, must work long hours to make ends meet, limiting their opportunities to spend time with their children.
Read the third blog post here.
We also heard loud and clear about how parents felt that their children were treated in schools. From being teased for bringing cultural foods for lunch, to being expected to do the bare minimum rather than having powerful potential, parents identified many ways that school environments did not help their young scholars of color thrive. There’s a huge variety of environments and experiences in King County schools, and some parents had positive experiences and expressed appreciation for the supportive teachers they’d encountered.
We are thankful to all the families across King County who partner with us to help us understand the stories behind the Best Starts for Kids Health Survey results. Here are our next steps for the health survey and how we plan to strengthen future BSK health surveys:
- We are sharing the survey themes that surfaced with the Best Starts for Kids teams to address the issues that families discussed.
- We are updating how we share survey data to better incorporate community stories and feedback.
- We are working on developing relationships with liaisons from communities not represented by our existing Language Community Liaisons to increase community involvement for future surveys.
- We’re working to use approaches identified by communities that work best for families.
- BSK Liaisons will also be reaching back out to their communities to invite parents and families to take the survey, connect, and build community.
Please contact BSK.Data@Kingcounty.gov if you have further questions.