Input Needed on Child Care in Clayton County

Clayton County residents are invited to take a survey that will help shape the future of child care in the community.

Child care is a challenge across rural communities in Iowa and the nation that directly impacts community health and vitality. Access to quality, dependable child care directly affects the workforce and thus the economic success of families and businesses in Clayton County. For rural — and often shrinking — communities, supporting families through child care is key to helping schools, hospitals and industries thrive. The Clayton County Foundation for the Future Board has prioritized taking action to support this important resource to improve quality of life across the county, and residents are invited to participate in a new study that gauges families’ needs.

This spring, the Foundation received a Rural Child Care Planning Grant from the Iowa Economic Development Authority that will fund the Clayton County Child Care Market Study. The Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque in partnership with the Clayton County Foundation for the Future has contracted with First Children’s Finance to perform an in-depth child care market analysis. The analysis will identify potential solutions to Clayton County’s child care needs and help with development of a strategic plan. Foundation Coordinator Emily Sadewasser will serve as project liaison with a steering committee of community leaders from across the county.


“Clayton County parents have expressed challenges finding child care, and local child care providers have shared challenges in recruiting and retaining staff,” says Sadewasser. “Performing this study will compile data around these needs and other identified needs and provide a basis for us to move forward using data-informed strategies. We anticipate the study will uncover ways in which we can work together to build partnerships and find solutions that can be replicated across the county.”

The study will include research and analysis on:

  • The needs of local families and children
  • The current supply of regulated child care
  • Parents’ current and preferred child care choices
  • Effects on employers caused by lack of child care
  • Child care providers’ challenges operating.

The report will include the key findings of the research and analysis, including a child care gap analysis quantifying how many children likely need care versus the number of spaces available. The entire market analysis and strategic planning process is expected to take six months and will result in Clayton County’s first professional analysis of child care challenges, strengths, and potential solutions. The analysis will serve as a guide for building partnerships and implementing solutions.

The research includes surveying parents currently using or wanting to use child care in Clayton County, to learn about their preferences and the challenges they experience. The survey can be accessed online September 15 through October 15, 2023 here. Links to English-language and Spanish-language versions of the survey can be accessed on the Clayton County Foundation for the Future Facebook page.

In addition, local employers and child care providers will be contacted to participate in additional surveys to provide insight into the current child care supply and its effect on them.

This project is sponsored in part by the Iowa Economic Development Authority and the following partners: Roger and Connie Halvorson CCFF Fund for Entrepreneurship, the Clayton County Board of Supervisors, Guttenberg Municipal Hospital & Clinics, Alpine Communications, and the Clayton County Development Group.

Contact us for more information.

Professional portrait of classy young woman in business attire
Here for you. Emily Sadewasser Executive Director, Clayton County Foundation for the Future 563-880-6044
700 Locust St., Ste. 195, Dubuque, IA 52001