Fort Worth nonprofit organization Child Care Associates (CCA) has secured a federal grant totaling more than $112 million over five years to expand its Head Start and Early Head Start services in Tarrant County.
The organization operates 24 child development centers across the county employing more than 500 childhood educators, specialists and staff to deliver Head Start and Early Head Start services.
The nonprofit also works in partnership with seven independent school districts to support 70-plus joint full-day, Pre-K/Head Start classrooms for qualifying students in Fort Worth, Arlington, Hurst-Euless-Bedford, Birdville, Grapevine-Colleyville, White Settlement and Keller.
CCA has been operating Head Start for 47 years and Early Head Start for 17 years.
Through the grant, which supports high quality early learning and family services for 2,310 infants, toddlers and preschoolers annually, Child Care Associates increased its number of Early Head Start slots of children by 50 percent and more than doubled the funding for these infants and toddlers.
The funding also will allow CCA to serve more than 800 Head Start children through joint ISD classrooms.
“Children from disadvantaged families typically arrive at kindergarten at least one year behind their advantaged peers,” said Kara Waddell, president/CEO of CCA. “Head Start and Early Head Start programs in our Tarrant County local communities represent a significant investment in helping ensure young children from lower-income families arrive ready for success in school.”
Head Start has a “whole child” focus that not only supports early education, but also ensures a comprehensive approach to social, emotional, physical and cognitive development. Head Start children and families receive additional services they need such as health services, screening and referrals in the community.
The grant will boost teachers’ salaries and provide more training days, add additional Family Service Advocate roles and allow staff to gather and analyze additional data to help ensure the program is responding to community needs and connecting performance in early childhood classrooms with later performance in kindergarten through third grade.
CCA, through a partnership with the Workforce Development Board of Tarrant County called Child Care Management Services (CCMS), ensures lower-income, working families can afford quality child care by providing child care subsidy assistance to more than 12,000 families annually.
CCA further provides subsidized child care and child care quality improvement in a 19-county area as Child Care Services (CCS) with the Workforce Development Board in Abilene, Texas.