A 2,000 Day Journey

The first 2,000 days of every person’s life are foundational. Studies show that a child’s experiences during those early years literally build the architecture of their brain. So we want to make the most of every child’s 2,000-day journey from birth to Kindergarten. This SX6 Strategic Plan is a community-wide roadmap that ensures all children in Austin/Travis County enter Kindergarten happy, healthy, and prepared to succeed in school and beyond.

Every day in a child’s 2,000-day journey, she reaches new developmental milestones and SX6 Coalition organizations are there to support her and her family.

Click through the timeline to read their stories.

  • Day 1

    Day 1

    Born at a healthy birth weight

  • Day 20

    Day 20

    Has formed an attachment with a caring adult.

    Read Carson’s Family Connects Story

  • Day 365

    Day 365

    Plays games like peek-a-boo and patty-cake

  • Day 730

    Day 730

    Points to objects in a book

  • Day 1,095

    Day 1,095

    Carries on a conversation

    Read Andy’s AVANCE Story

  • Day 1,500

    Day 1,500

    Prefers to play with other children, rather than alone

    Read Melody’s Mainspring Schools Story

  • Day 1,501

    Day 1,500

    Engages in dramatic play and may pretend at different professions

    Read Jeanette’s Early Matters Greater Austin Story

  • Day 2,000

    Day 2,000

    Ready for Kindergarten

Goals & Framework

The long-term goal of SX6 is to ensure – at the end of each child’s first 2,000-day journey – that they are happy, healthy, and ready to succeed in school and in life.

To achieve this goal for all Austin/Travis County children, our coalition used a four-pillar framework that outlines our current objectives related to each foundational pillar for children and their families, as well as for the program itself and associated public policy.

Goals, Strategies, and Measures

The long-term goal of the SX6 Coalition is to ensure – at the end of each child’s first 2,000-day journey – that they are happy, healthy, and ready to succeed in school and in life.

Measure20182023 TargetStretch Target
Percent of children who enter kindergarten school ready49%70%90%
Percent of children in low-income families who enter kindergarten school ready39%70%90%
Percent of children who enter kindergarten school ready on their Social Emotional Readiness60%70%90%
Percentage of clients who demonstrated improvement in their life skills or knowledge after the research-based intervention82%85%90%
% / # of parents in the WIC program who report that they Talk Read Play Sing with their childrenTBDTBDTBD
Number of confirmed victims of child abuse and neglect for children ages 0-5 AND Number of confirmed victims of child abuse per 10001237 / 4.1500

Strategy Goals

Goal: All children receive early and regular developmental screenings and immunizations, and are linked to accessible, coordinated, integrated, and responsive basic needs, physical, dental, and mental health services, including services for children with developmental delays.


  • Connect eligible child care centers to the CACFP and food services coordination community-wide, to address early childhood hunger, obesity, and nutrition issues.
  • Expand the evidence-based Family Connects model.
  • Align current resources for mental health in schools to serve younger children.
  • Screen children for developmental delays and ensure service providers have access to the data so that young children get the right services more quickly.
  • Increase the number of system providers (school, health care, etc.) who assess for adverse childhood experience (ACEs) and/or maternal depression and refer to appropriate community supports.
  • Expand early childhood mental health consultation services to early childhood education sites in private and public settings.
Measure20182023 TargetStretch Target
# and % of FSN agencies or early education programs that provide developmental screening and follow-up referrals24
# and % of appropriate family serving agencies that provide trauma screeners for most or all of their clients9
# and % of families who receive post-natal home visit from Family Connects39
% of Pre-K campuses receiving mental health consultation in ISDs0%TBDTBD
% of centers serving 10 or more low income children receiving mental health consultation in child care settings10

Goal: Families have access to and use the resources that provide them with the knowledge, skills, confidence, and social supports to positively nurture the health, safety, and development of their children, and develop greater financial stability.

  • Maintain/expand capacity and participation in research- and evidence-based, culturally competent home-visiting, parent education, and family support services for families with children under 6.
  • Optimize connections to basic needs services (e.g., food, housing) and financial stability resources for parents/caregivers of young children.
  • Improve recruitment, pre-service training, high quality professional development, and retention of family support professionals.
  • Connect parents/caregivers of young children with adult education and workforce development opportunities leading toward greater economic stability.
  • Ensure that parents/caregivers and young children who have experienced abuse, neglect, or other significant trauma receive specialized interventions and advocacy support services.
  • Ensure that parents/caregivers and young children have at least twenty early childhood books in their homes.
Measure20182023 TargetStretch Target
# and % of children in low-income families under 3 with parents who have participated in research- or evidence-based home visiting or parent education services 1,344
# of families currently served through a 2-Gen/ near 2-Gen approach682
% of families that have more than 20 children's books in the home 52%70%90%

Goal: Children and families are informed and able to access high quality early learning environments that demonstrate positive developmental outcomes for all children (including children with unique developmental and cultural needs) through competent, responsive, and caring relationships.

  • Increase the availability of very high quality early care and education providers for low-income families in Travis County.
  • Recruit and retain qualified teachers and administrators.
  • Increase the number of children birth to 3 years old served by Early Head Start.
  • Develop a coordinated enrollment system for families to access high quality child care.
  • Create and implement a Quality Child Care Shared Services Alliance for functions such as payroll, staff recruitment and pre-service training, and bulk purchasing.
  • Increase the number of eligible 3 and 4 year old children enrolled in Public Pre-K in Travis County school districts and other high quality early education settings.
  • Every district has and implements a plan to increase Public Pre-K quality through teacher coaching, full-day / low ratio programs, and supporting principals and other leaders to lead quality programs.
Measure20182023 TargetStretch Target
# and % of full-day early care and education centers, including Early Head Start/Head Start centers, with 10 or more, or 20%, children from low-income families aged 0 – 5 that are rated TRS 4 Star or higher52
# and % of children from low-income families ages birth to 5 years old in early care and education centers, including Early Head Start/Head Start centers, with 10 or more, or 20%, that are TRS 4 star or higher2,938
# and % of eligible 3 year old children enrolled in public Pre-k in Travis County school districts and other high-quality early education settings1,275
# and % of all eligible 4 year old children enrolled in full-day Public Pre-K in Travis County School districts5,532
# and % of teachers in full-day early care and education centers (that serve 10 or 20% CCS) with an Associate Degree or higher with 12 hours or equivalent in child development or related field161
# and % of all eligible pre-k 4 year old children enrolled in classrooms that are full-day and 1:15 ratio or better24%55%TBD
% of observed Pre-K classrooms that achieve CLASS scores that predict kindergarten readinessBase line data is being collectedTBDTBD

Goal: Public and private sectors in Austin/Travis County work together to ensure that the community has the resources and infrastructure to deliver services to children and their families, and to provide a safe and healthy environment in which to raise children.

  • Sustain and expand partnerships with the City of Austin (COA) Public Library, Parks and Recreation Department, Public Health Department, Equity Department, and Travis County Neighborhood Centers to increase programming and services for families with young children.
  • Work with GAVA and other neighborhood, planning, and quality of life initiatives to integrate early childhood into their master plans.
  • Identify and cultivate private funders and business leaders to support early childhood advocacy, resources, and services.
  • Create and sustain a strong Family Leadership Initiative to amplify parent/caregiver voice in planning and advocacy efforts.
  • Build public awareness of the importance of the first 5 years, brain development, and supporting parents/caregivers in their caregiver role.
  • Support parents/caregivers navigate the early childhood system through an accessible and specialized resource and referral system.
  • Build/strengthen community capacity to collect, analyze, and use data to support school readiness.
Measure20182023 TargetStretch Target
City and County spending on early childhood development and learning per child from a household with low income$220TBDTBD
Total private funding to early childhood services as measured by Central Texas Education Funders$2,446,000TBDTBD
Number of Bright By Text and Ready Rosie sign-ups1,0106,00020,000

About the Coalition

Six years ago, a coalition of child and family advocates – providers, parents, policymakers, civic leaders, and experts – came together under the banner of United Way for Greater Austin to transform Austin/Travis County’s early childhood system through a strategic plan, originally called the School Readiness Action Plan.

Today, our Success By 6 [SX6] Coalition has grown, strengthened, and continues to build upon its achievements. This third installment of the strategic plan looks forward to our next 2,000 days and how we can continue to coordinate our actions to help ensure every child born in the Austin area receives the support and care they deserve during their essential 2,000 days.

Your Influence on the Journey

Each individual and every organization here in Austin/Travis County has the power to help shape the next 2,000 days – both for SX6’s work and for our youngest children. All you have to do is care, engage, and act.

Together, we can do so much to build up our community, its future success, and every one of the 38 babies coming into this world daily as fellow Austinites.

Begin today.

If you are a philanthropist

Consider opportunities to seed innovation; build capacity to research, pilot and scale programs; improve systems to enhance coordination; and connect our Coalition to resources to make this happen. With your help we can reach more disadvantaged children in those foundational 2,000 days.

If you’re a parent or a concerned member of the public

Play every day. Research confirms that children learn better when adults talk, sing, and read with them daily. Support early learning through positive, engaging, fun interactions with the children in your life. Get parenting tools and techniques appropriate to your child’s age by signing up for Bright by Text – just text SMARTATX to 274448 to begin receiving parenting tips and local resources in English or Spanish.

If you’re a service provider

Join the Success By 6 Coalition. Collaborate, innovate, and empower family voice. Aim for access, equity and quality. Together we can make meaningful, systemic, and sustainable impact for our children, our families, and our community we serve.

If you’re a business leader

High-quality early learning can transform the economic trajectory of our region. Investing in early education is an investment in the workforce of today AND the workforce of tomorrow. Join Early Matters Greater Austin - invest in early learning, influence public policy, create family friendly workplaces, and advance innovation. To join EMGA or learn more, please visit www.earlymattersgreateraustin.org.

If you’re a policymaker

Prioritize policies that address the needs of families and young children. Recognize that policies and funding for early childhood have the highest return on investment for communities than any other. Strong early childhood systems and infrastructure create better education, health, social and economic outcomes that increase revenue and reduce the need for costly social spending on services and supports later. Human capital is a critical part of our community’s infrastructure and that foundation is laid in the first 2,000 days.

Leadership Team

Nichole Aguirre
Manor Independent School District

Raul Alvarez
Community Action Network

Ellen Balthazar
Community Advisor

Alison Bentley, Ph.D.
United Way for Greater Austin

Stephanie Bonnet Kramer
Pflugerville Independent School District

Shalyn Bravens
United Way for Greater Austin

Mary Jane Burson
Early Childhood Council

Sue Carpenter
United Way for Greater Austin

Katie Casstevens
Austin Independent School District

Anna Lisa Conlin
Travis County Health and Human Services

Ami Cortes
Austin Independent School District

Michelle Crawford
Workforce Solutions Capital Area

Cathy Doggett
Independent Consultant

Libby Doggett, Ph.D.
Community Advisor

Mary Dunlap
Child Inc. Head Start

Rachel Farley
City of Austin - Austin Public Health

Brooke Freeland
Independent Consultant

Cindy Gamez
City of Austin - Austin Public Health

Jackie Goodman
GO! Austin / ¡VAMOS! Austin

Aletha Huston, Ph.D.
University of Texas, Professor Emerita

Mary E. Isaacs, Ph.D.
Literacy First

Laura Koenig
E3 Alliance

Benjamin Kramer, Ph.D.

Dawn Leach
Austin Chapter of the Texas Association of the Education for the Young Child

Cathy McHorse
United Way for Greater Austin

Kim McPherson
St. Davids Foundation

Susan Millea
Children's Optimal Health

Melanie Moore
Literacy Coalition of Central Texas

Nicole Robinson
Workforce Solutions Capital Area

Patrick Sanders
Child Inc. Head Start

Stacey Shackelford, Ph.D.
Austin Community College

Kim Sidey
Austin Community Foundation

Jelina Tunstill
Community Action Network

Ovtavio Ulloa
Travis County Health and Human Services