Council Report: COVID-19 childcare and community services committees

    Co-chaired by District 2 Councilman Carlos Flores and District 8 Councilwoman Kelly Allen Gray.
    *School reopening: Fort Worth Independent School District (FWISD) Superintendent Dr. Kent Scribner and his leadership team are engaged in summer and fall planning with multiple contingencies. The school district has not yet made any firm decisions, however, pending further guidance from Tarrant County and the City of Fort Worth about public health restrictions and phased reopening.
    *Internet access: The FWISD has been distributing Chromebook laptop computers and internet hot spots at elementary school sites for students who lack internet access. The committee has focused much of its attention upon the challenges facing many low-income
and immigrant families in which parents may lack the technical, educational, and/or language skills necessary to facilitate their children’s online learning. Several nonprofit organizations will be using their summer programs to help these parents in acquiring the needed skills.
    *Childcare services for families of essential workers: There are nearly 9,000 childcare slots available at 682 licensed facilities throughout Tarrant County, including 313 childcare centers and 369 family homes. The website for the online search tool is
    Child Care Associates has received over 1,000 applications for childcare subsidies that are available to essential workers with incomes at or below 150 percent of the state median income, or $118,000 for a family of four. They have enrolled almost 500 participants, making Tarrant County’s participation rate the highest among all urban counties in Texas.
    To apply for these subsidies, visit the local Child Care Management Services website, A caseworker will be in contact within 48 hours to finalize and activate the assistance.
    *Survey of childcare providers: Child Care Associates next week will be conducting a survey of all licensed childcare providers in Tarrant County. The purpose will be to collect information about their experience during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as their needs and concerns as the economy is reopened.
    *Summer programs: Programs which have been affected by the pandemic include summer day camp, mobile recreation, aquatics, youth sports, adult sports, and the Mayor’s Summer Reading Challenge. The city will be able to provide some program activities this summer in accordance with public health guidelines, but some activities have been canceled and others will be subject to future decisions as the pandemic unfolds.

    Co-chaired by District 5 Councilwoman Gyna Bivens and District 6 Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem Jungus Jordan.
    *COVID-19 response: UNT Health Science Center President Dr. Michael Williams emphasized the importance of testing, hospital capacity, and case tracking/surveillance. HSC provided the first testing for emergency responders, and is now finalizing a website for the public to be screened and referred to testing sites in Tarrant County.  
    For students, UNTHSC anticipates staying with online instruction until the fall, and perhaps even to January 2021.
    *Housing, utility, food, medicine, and related assistance: Director of Neighborhood Services Victor Turner, briefed the committee on the proposed use of federal CARES Act funds to assist Fort Worth residents. The City has received $8.2 million in Housing and Urban Development and Health and Human Services funds beyond the normal annual allocation for housing programs. Neighborhood Services proposed allocating an additional $7.2 million in federal Coronavirus Relief Fund resources to assist residents affected financially. The funds would be available to residents earning up to 120% of area median income, some of whom may not be eligible for HUD and HHS programs.
    *Child abuse: Police Chief Ed Kraus gave update on reports of child abuse, which increased in March 2020 compared to March 2019. Reports of abuse in April at the time of the meeting had declined compared to March 2020 and April 2019, but the severity of abuse has increased.
    Kraus said schools are the primary source for reporting child abuse, so their closure has masked abuse happening in homes. The Fort Worth Police Department is working with FWISD and other agencies to address the issue. The Apartment Association of
Tarrant County is also sharing information with its network.

    Tuesday, the Fort Worth City