Survey will help WCA assess child care needs in community

Child care has been a pressing need in the community for some time, and the Wrangell Cooperative Association is hoping to address the issue at least in some part.

Starting last week, the WCA distributed surveys on bulletin boards around town, on its website and on Facebook. The survey will help the organization assess how great the need is.

“We’re looking to assess the need in our community as a whole,” said Esther Reese, tribal administrator for WCA. The organization is asking how many families need child care, what days of the week are needed, if there was a loss of child care during the pandemic and what curriculum parents think would fit best in the community.

Reese said they are also asking if there are parents willing to work in a child care facility.

Beyond the survey, WCA has been researching possible places to locate a child care facility, with one option being a classroom at Evergreen Elementary school.

Schools Superintendent Bill Burr said the idea to use a classroom came to him last spring and made sense since there are a couple classrooms being used as storage after the student population dropped.

“There was some thought that if we could share space, preparing kids for school, as well as having Head Start just across the street … the location was good all the way around,” Burr said. Having a child care facility in proximity to the elementary school is also a good option, he said, as it can help acclimate young children to the school environment.

The Central Council of the Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska representatives who are experienced with setting up child care facilities visited Wrangell to assess the classroom site and give input on what would need to be done to ready it for children, Reese said.

“They’re experts in this area,” she said. “They’re providing us with assistance with the facility itself and with the requirements.”

Reese said WCA won’t be able to determine how many children could be accommodated until the needs are determined. Infants would require cribs, which would take more space, so that could limit the number of toddlers and older children.

Another need in establishing a child care facility would be a kitchen for food preparation, Reese said. She said they are actively researching possibilities since there isn’t a kitchen available at the school.

The survey can be completed online at, on the WCA Facebook page or by obtaining a physical copy from bulletin boards at the grocery stores. Completed copies can be returned to a lockbox on the WCA office porch at 1002 Zimovia across from Alpine Mini Mart. The deadline to return the survey is Oct. 28.

“We were responding to the overwhelming need in the community and want to help,” Reese said.


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