Newsroom

Commentary: It’s Time to Address the Broken Child Care System In Texas

Texas children deserve better. It is likely you picked up the paper this week and it broke your heart. The stories of parents who lost their children are devastating, and we are thankful to the Austin American-Statesman for taking an in-depth look into an issue of such importance to young children and working families in our community. The first five years of a child’s life are a critical period when 90 percent of all brain development occurs. What happens in these early years has a lasting impact from kindergarten readiness to high school graduation and beyond. For working parents, finding the right care for their children can be among the most difficult—and expensive—parenting decisions they face. The American-Statesman rightly questions who is “watching” our children. But licensing oversight is just one piece of a complex system that is fragile, fragmented and chronically underfunded at the state and federal level. Every child in Austin deserves access to high-quality, accredited early care and education. And every working parent deserves confidence in knowing their children are in a safe, nurturing environment while they work to provide for their families. Accreditation requires meeting standards well above basic health and safety licensing rules. This high-quality care provides a warm, responsive environment led by well-educated and compensated teachers with low student-teacher ratios, evidence-based curriculum and parent engagement. Unfortunately, low wages in the child care industry stifle educational attainment and drive high turnover among child care workers in the region. Quality child care is expensive but yields […]

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United Way Launches the Family Opportunity Roadmap: 
The 2-Generation Strategic Plan for Austin/Travis County

AUSTIN, Texas –  All families deserve access to opportunity. However, systems that perpetuate intergenerational poverty threaten the wellbeing of Austin’s residents and its economy, leaving far too many families behind. In Travis County, more than one-third of households with children younger than 18 years old are low income. Meanwhile, employers in our community struggle to find trained candidates to fill well-paying middle-skill jobs. Austin’s current workforce gap is projected to continue to grow and reach more than 60,000 openings for middle-skill jobs by 2021.  For many parents who are eager to fill these positions, access to affordable, high-quality child care stands in the way. Although there are many promising anti-poverty programs in Austin, most focus solely on adults or their children, missing the opportunity to foster economic mobility for whole families. The 2-Gen approach to family economic opportunity brings services and resources for parents and children together, ultimately leading to better outcomes for both generations.   Over the past several years, leaders across sectors in Austin/Travis County have worked together to better understand and promote a dual-generational (2-Gen) approach aimed at disrupting the cycle of intergenerational poverty. With the release of the Austin/Travis County 2-Gen Strategic Plan, Austin’s nonprofit and municipal leaders are laying the groundwork to intentionally coordinate services for parents and children over the next five years. Austin Mayor Steve Adler and United Way CEO David Smith will formally celebrate the launch of the plan on Thursday, December 13, 2018, at the Headliners Club. City and County officials, […]

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United Way for Greater Austin Announces 2018-2021 Community Investment Grant Funded Partners

AUSTIN, Texas – United Way for Greater Austin announced their 2018-2021 Community Investment Grant funded partners. United Way will collectively award twenty-eight agencies a total of $1.4 million under two distinct funding opportunities.   The path to poverty starts at an early age when low-income children do not have access to the same opportunities as their more advantaged peers. In Travis County, 42 percent of all children under six years of age are living in low-income families. That is almost 40,000 children who wake up each morning in homes where economic insecurity forces families to choose between paying their ever-rising rent or purchasing groceries.   United Way’s Community Investment Grants (CIGs) support their partner organizations to tackle the community’s greatest challenges. Through high-quality, data-driven programs, United Way seeks to ensure that Austin’s youngest, most vulnerable children and their families have the support and resources they need to break the cycle of poverty.   United Way focuses funding in two priority areas: Success By 6 (SB6) – Early Childhood Development: Through the Success By 6 initiatives, CIGs support programs to ensure that children are happy, health and set up for success in school and life. 2-Gen – Wrap-Around Family Support: 2-Gen CIGs address two generations in each family by supporting programs that provide families with equitable access to economic and social opportunities and ensure families in Central Texas are physically and mentally healthy.   With these two areas, United Way lifts up the resources to address holistic family needs to fight […]

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Texas Family Connects Has First Home Visit In Austin, Travis County

AUSTIN, Texas – Every family needs support following the birth of a child. The United Way forGreater Austin is pleased to announce the launch of the Texas Family Connects Nurse Home Visiting Program. Texas Family Connects will benefit all families, including those that are frequently overlooked or underserved through current outreach methods – families who may not have been connected to services otherwise.   WHO: United Way for Greater Austin and Texas Family Connects – Travis County   WHAT: Announcement of first home visit with the Texas Family Connects nurse home visiting program in Austin/Travis County. Texas Family Connects is a voluntary, evidence-based Travis County community-wide nurse home visiting and referral program is for every family with a newborn. It is specifically designed to decrease instances of maltreatment by screening for risk and providing access to intervention early in a child’s life. The initiative has launched with all families giving birth at the St. David’s South Austin Medical Center with plans to expand to serve every family with a new baby in Travis County.   WHEN: September 4, 2018   WHERE: St. David’s South Austin Medical Center, 901 W Ben White Blvd, Austin, TX 78704   WHY: Texas Family Connects – Travis County is officially up in running, with a plan to give babies the best possible start in life.   This program is a partnership between United Way for Greater Austin and Austin Public Health. The City of Austin’s Public Health Department to offer every family with a newborn in […]

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