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Tarrant County leaders announce $2 million investment to boost wages for child care educators

🕐 4 min read

A group of area leaders and government officials have announced plan for an immediate investment of up to $2 million in public funding via the American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA) to raise child care educator wages.

Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley, Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker and Arlington Mayor Jim Ross, working with Workforce Solutions for Tarrant County and Child Care Associates, are leading the effort.

“We’ve listened to the child care providers working hard in our communities. 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,” said CCA CEO Kara Waddell.

The $2 million supplement for child care educator compensation is being funded by ARPA dollars allocated to Workforce Solutions for Tarrant County for child care quality. Qualifying Texas Rising Star (TRS) quality child care providers (estimated at up to 1,500 child care educators) in Tarrant County are eligible for an approximated $250 in additional monthly income for up to six months. 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.

“So many of our residents rely on childcare so they can work to support their families or pursue education and training for even better job opportunities. It makes sense for us to come together as a community to invest in quality, accessible child care and early education—to not only help the workers of today, but to ensure a brighter future for our next generation,” said Arlington Mayor Jim Ross.

Also announced by Fort Worth Mayor Parker in partnership with Arlington Mayor Ross and Tarrant County Judge Whitley is the formation of a Blue Ribbon Action Committee on Child Care to guide critical investment opportunities in child care and early education for children 0-5. Child Care Associates has been asked to lend its capacity and expertise to coordinate a multi-year initiative around strategic investments that improve the lives of young children, working parents and early educators. The Blue Ribbon Action Committee will help define and guide this initiative aimed at driving bold public and private investments on behalf of young children and to coordinate funds, data and infrastructure improvements at scale.

“There is a crisis facing our child care system that requires immediate response; we need our community’s ‘best and brightest’ to help identify and accelerate solutions to these systemic challenges,” said Mayor Parker.

Mayors Parker and Ross, and Judge Whitley are naming the members of the Blue Ribbon Action Committee to be finalized in the coming weeks to include business, philanthropic and community leaders.

“Along with Mayor Parker and Mayor Ross, we know it’s time to step up on behalf of young children and the child care educators who serve them,” said Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley. “After watching the leadership at Child Care Associates manage Tarrant County child care issues during COVID, we knew immediately that they were the right partner for this effort. We are also fortunate to have respected thought leaders Alfreda Norman (of the Dallas Federal Reserve) and Rose Bradshaw (of the North Texas Community Foundation)  convene our Blue Ribbon Action Committee.”

“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.”

Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

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