New Blue Ribbon Committee spearheads investment in young children

Alongside city and county leaders, two local organizations announce initiative to support young children and impact the workforce.

Local elected officials have announced the formation of a new Blue Ribbon Action Committee on Childcare to guide critical investment opportunities in child care and early education for children 0-5. The committee, in partnership with two local nonprofits, will help define and guide a multi-year initiative aimed at driving public/private investments to improve the lives of young children, working parents and early educators.

Under the expertise of Child Care Associates (CCA) and with public funds allocated to Workforce Solutions for Tarrant County, the committee will coordinate funds, data and infrastructure improvements at scale. The effort commences with an immediate investment of up to $2 million in public funding from the American Recovery Act Plan (ARPA) that will be used locally to raise child care educator wages.

“We’ve listened to the child care providers working hard in our communities,” said CCA CEO Kara Waddell. “Without a doubt, the single greatest challenge facing child care programs today is its workforce. We believe this initial investment is a critical first step in ensuring young children continue to have access to quality child care.”

Thanks to the funding, qualifying Texas Rising Star (TRS) quality child care providers in Tarrant County are eligible for an approximated $250 in additional monthly income for up to six months. The number of eligible providers is estimated at up to 1,500 child care educators in the region. Beyond the six months, child care programs are eligible for Texas Workforce Commission sustainability grants opportunities in 2022 that can be used to continue these salary supplements.

Members of the Blue Ribbon Action Committee will be finalized in the coming weeks, to include business, philanthropic and community leaders. Two committee leaders have been appointed as committee co-chairs: Dallas Federal Reserve’s Alfreda B. Norman and North Texas Community Foundation’s Rose Bradshaw.

“COVID magnified child care and early education challenges – challenges that have been underlying for years,” said North Texas Community Foundation President and newly appointed Blue Ribbon Action Committee co-chair Rose Bradshaw. “It is a historic moment in our community, and we must step up to guide investments that make a multi-generational impact.”

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Mindia Whittier