GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A new survey starting Wednesday will give eligible Kent County residents a $5 gift card for answering how the pandemic has impacted their family.

First Steps Kent is teaming up with the Rapid Assessment of Pandemic Impact on Development – Early Childhood project for the effort. The online survey is open to any Kent County parent or caregiver with a child younger than 6 years. The survey takes about 15 minutes to complete and covers emotional well-being, material hardship, child care and preventative health.

“The questions really try to get to the heart of what parents are facing in terms of challenges but also trying to find out what they like to see happen,” First Steps Kent President Annemarie Valdez said at the WOOD TV8 Live Desk Wednesday.

The online survey will be open for two weeks. Eligible participants who finish it will get a $5 gift card.

First Steps Kent plans to issue the survey every quarter over the coming year. The organization will use the survey data “to see how families are doing, spot trends and inform action,” according to First Steps Kent President Annemarie Valdez. The county also hopes to identify the effectiveness of its Ready by Five early childhood millage.

RAPID-EC has already surveyed thousands of U.S. families about how the pandemic has impacted their daily lives as part of a national survey that started in April 2020. The group is partnering with Kent County and other select communities for in-depth surveys in hopes of informing policy.

“It’s really hearing from parents, finding out what their challenges and barriers are, and I think something that we are very committed to is really lifting parents’ voices,” Valdez said.

The survey is mostly funded by RAPID-EC with First Steps Kent also contributing to the cost. No millage dollars will be used to fund the survey, a spokesperson told News 8.

The survey is available on the First Steps Kent website at

—News 8 digital anchor Luke Laster contributed to this report.