Local social entrepreneur, family child care provider and national speaker Jerletha McDonald, and the public-private partnership The Best Place for Kids! have received the Child Care Associates (CCA) North Texas Early Childhood Leadership Awards in the categories of individual and organization, respectively.
This is the third year CCA has presented awards to local honorees.
“At Child Care Associates, we are devoted to ensuring every child has access to the quality early education needed to succeed in education and life. While there is much work to be done, CCA celebrates leaders who work creatively to advance outcomes for young children. We established this award in recent years to honor these early childhood heroes,” CCA CEO Kara Waddell said in the announcement.
McDonald is honored for her leadership in the family child care space. Home-based or family child care is an important option for families seeking affordable, accessible care that meets their family needs.
McDonald is the founder and CEO of the Arlington DFW Child Care Association, a family child network, working to improve the quality of child care among home-based providers. She is also the owner/director of Nurturing Gifts Infant and Toddler Center, JayMac Enterprise – a consulting agency for family childcare professionals, and the host of the highly acclaimed Radio/Visual Podcast Show, The Jerletha McDonald Show: Everything Child Care! In 2019, she was appointed to Gov. Greg Abbott’s Early Learning Council.
“I will continue to use my voice and influence to empower programs and collaborations for early childhood educators. We want to unapologetically strive for excellence in leadership while also working to excel in business development and economic mobility,” McDonald said in a news release. “The early care and education workforce is a significant segment of the United States workforce and economy. Families and businesses rely on us to care for and educate young children.”
Best Place for Kids! is a local public-private partnership focused on ensuring that 1.) every child has access to a quality education starting at birth, 2.) families are connected with critical community resources, and 3.) businesses are supported with research-backed strategies that benefit working parents and businesses’ bottom line.
In the last year, Best Place for Kids! launched the FIND! Child Care Tool, allowing families to search in real-time for nearby quality, available child care seats for their children age 0 to 12 in Tarrant County. Best Place for Kids! has also developed a business tool allowing businesses large and small to self-assess their workplace as a “Best Place for Working Parents.”
“We are honored to receive this award because Best Place for Kids! has been such a collaborative effort. We are proud and humbled to have business leaders, city officials, nonprofits, philanthropy, and educators all working together to develop innovative solutions that make Tarrant County an ideal place to live and work,” said Cheraya Peña, director of The Best Place for Kids!.
Child Care Associates is one of the largest child development nonprofits in North Texas and has served more than half a million young children in the past 53 years.