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Tarrant County Public Health
Local Coalition to Expand Help Me Grow North Texas
Tarrant County Joins Nationwide Network of States and Communities to Collaborate on Improving Outcomes for Children Prenatal-to-Three
FORT WORTH, TEXAS – SEPT. 16, 2020 – Tarrant County has been selected to receive a three-year $550,000 grant from the Pritzker Children’s Initiative, one of 10 awarded following a national, year-long competition to identify innovative community-based efforts to improve outcomes for infants and toddlers.
“Our community is leading the way for improving the lives of children across the country,” said Tarrant County Commissioner Roy Brooks, 2017 President of the National Association of Counties (NACo). “Given that NACo was one of the original partners of the National Collaborative for Infants and Toddlers, led by the Pritzker Children’s Initiative, it gives me no greater pleasure than to now see that we continue to excel and have been recognized for our collaboration and program excellence with this new grant!”
Involvement with the Pritzker Children’s Initiative was spearheaded by Commissioner Roy Brooks during his past presidency with NACo. Each president selects an initiative for focus. Commissioner Brooks’ “Serving the Underserved” initiative focused on addressing generational poverty with specific emphasis on early childhood development in the 0-3 year old space. The culmination of these efforts locally with the first two-year initiative that Pritzker supported, expanded to become “Help Me Grow North Texas.”
Tarrant County will manage the grant funds on behalf of a coalition of over 40 public and private partners that have crafted a strategy for a strong and sustainable infrastructure to improve access to programs and services that offer a foundation for a strong start for the community’s youngest children. The coalition and its members will join other national, state, local organizations as part of the National Collaborative for Infants and Toddlers.
“Thanks to Pritzker, we are building a support network of community resources for families with children ages 0 to 6,” said Laura Kender, Chief of Early Childhood Services for My Health My Resources of Tarrant County and Chair of the Early Learning Alliance. “Through this initiative, we are linking young children and their families to community-based programs and services that will help them thrive. Our Help Me Grow Navigators listen to families, link them to services, and provide ongoing support to meet families' needs. They can help families access services and then see if the service was a good fit. Families need resources now more than ever and we, unfortunately, don’t see that ending anytime soon. Help Me Grow is an integral part of our community resources for families with young children.”
“Helping families find and use the resources available to ensure their child learns and develops is critically important to their future success,” said Vinny Taneja, Director of Tarrant County Public Health. “We are thankful for the Pritzker Children’s Initiative for the work they do and for the three-year grant! For those children with additional needs, connecting them with the resources to help with speech delays or other developmental issues at little or no cost can make all the difference in the child’s school experience. Ultimately, we want to see all of our children grow up healthy and capable of living the lives they so richly deserve.”
Tarrant County Public Health, My Health My Resources of Tarrant County, and the Early Learning Alliance will work together along with their community partners to increase families access and connection to essential support services and high-quality child care. Through these efforts, the agencies and partners will build out a more coordinated early childhood system that is easier for families to navigate and increases cross-sector collaboration across the North Texas region. “We are excited to expand on our systems building work to also develop an early childhood fiscal map and strategic financing plan,” said Michelle Buckley, Director of the Early Learning Alliance. “Adequate and sustainable funding for early childhood is critical for the success of our infants and toddlers.”
“Supporting strong prenatal-to-three efforts in communities across the nation is key to expanding the numbers of young children in the United States with access to high-quality programs and services. We believe that setting infants and toddlers on the path to success in school and in life is work on which we can all agree,” said Gerry Cobb, Director, Pritzker Children’s Initiative. “We are pleased to support the priorities of Help Me Grow North Texas through this grant and want to build on the innovative work being done by the outstanding public and private partners that have come together on behalf of the North Texas’ youngest children.”
Through its Pritzker Children’s Initiative, the J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation has been a champion of quality early learning for almost two decades. The Pritzker Children’s Initiative supports organizations and coalitions in states and communities to expand equitable access to and participation in high-quality services for infants, toddlers, and their families across the United States.
The National Collaborative for Infants & Toddlers (NCIT) brings together early childhood leaders, policymakers, and practitioners committed to advancing policies and programs that ensure every child from prenatal to age three has the support he or she needs for a strong start in life.
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