Education People

Community leaders name members of Blue Ribbon Action Committee for child care

Written by Mindia Whittier

Committee is tasked with identifying solutions for young children, working parents and early child care educators.

In November, local elected officials and community leaders announced formation of a Blue Ribbon committee to spearhead investments in young children for Fort Worth and Arlington. Child Care Associates will lend its capacity and expertise to coordinate the multi-year initiative. Now, members of the committee have been named.

“Our youngest children, as well as their caretakers and educators, are facing a crisis, and we must act quickly to find and implement bold solutions,” said Fort Worth Mayor Mayor Parker. “We’ve drawn together innovative leaders from across North Texas to help us identify and accelerate solutions to these systemic challenges.”

The Blue Ribbon committee was created to capitalize on significant public investment opportunities from the American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA). ARPA seeks to address longstanding issues in child care and early education that have been exacerbated by the Covid pandemic.

Members of the committee will work to boost outcomes for young children 0-5, working parents, and child care educators by identifying bold, innovative, cross-sector solutions that improve access to and the quality of child care at scale in Tarrant County.

Led by North Texas Community Foundation’s Rose Bradshaw & the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas’s Alfreda B. Norman as co-chairs, the Blue Ribbon Action Committee is comprised of a team of business, philanthropic and community leaders:

Jay Chapa, J Chapa Strategic Solutions
Pete Geren, The Sid Richardson Foundation
Dr. Jessica Gomez, Momentous Institute
Chris Huckabee, Huckabee, Inc
Dr. Elva LeBlanc, Tarrant County College
Courtney Lewis, BanCorp South
Jerletha McDonald, Arlington DFW Child Care
Winjie Tang Miao, Texas Health Resources
Jeremy Smith, The Rainwater Charitable Foundation
Margaret Spellings, Texas 2036
Katy Magruder, PNC Bank
Drexell Owusu, Dallas Foundation
Terese Stevenson, Rees-Jones Foundation
Ebony Jones, Teach for America – Fort Worth

The Blue Ribbon Action Committee will focus its efforts in four key areas:

· Places and Spaces – expanding and improving quality early education infrastructure and classrooms, especially for infants and toddlers

· Early Educator Workforce – advancing approaches that design and sustainably rebuild a strong pipeline for a corps of quality early educators

· Sustainable Cost Model – advancing cost modeling and layered funding to cover the true costs of quality child care

· Mixed Delivery 0-5 System – advancing approaches that invest in our community-based child care and ensure pre-kindergarten can be delivered in community-based early learning centers in addition to elementary schools

“We’ve assembled this team of local thought leaders, policy experts, and key stakeholders to help us transform once-in-a-lifetime federal recovery funds into long-term, strategic investments that expand access to early learning and child care for all Tarrant County families,” said Tarrant County Glen Judge Whitley.

Lead nonprofit partner Child Care Associates is one of the largest child development nonprofits in North Texas and has served more than half a million young children in the past 53 years. Through Head Start and Early Head Start and Child Care Management Services, Child Care Associates delivers quality early education programs to children and families of disadvantaged means, offsets the high cost of child care for lower-income working families and increases the quality of child care delivered across Tarrant County.

“Over the last few years, working parents and businesses realize afresh how much we depend on community access to quality child care. As the child care industry struggles to exist and recover, the time was right for our public officials to convene leaders to help navigate a way forward,” adds Kara Waddell, President-CEO of CCA.

About the author

Mindia Whittier