Through our Success By 6 program, UWATX makes sure every child is ready for kindergarten. To realize that ambitious goal, we’re both working to improve child care services and also through parent education.
Recently, we have focused increasingly on using leading-edge strategies to spread information about early childhood development to parents in the Austin community. Not only do we foster our own innovative programs like Play To Learn, which fosters school readiness at home, but by partnering with other pioneering services to make sure our community is taking advantage of everything that’s out there. One of these services is Text4baby.
“Text4baby helped show me how to interact with my baby – playing with baby, reading with baby, making baby laugh. When I started seeing my baby do the things that I was told I should be seeing her do I felt relieved and happy! I really got so much out of the service.” –April R. Austin mother and text4baby user
Text4baby reaches parents as early as possible—during pregnancy. It’s a free text messaging service that provides timed and relevant information for pregnant women and new mothers on prenatal care, labor and delivery, breastfeeding, vaccination, immunization, and more. Critical brain development occurs during a child’s first few years of life—through these early interventions, we have an even better chance of making a more positive and profound impact on these children’s lives.
Since our partnership began in 2012, we have seen a 78% enrollment increase for text4baby in Travis County – that means 1,578 moms have signed up for text4baby, ensuring that new parents in Austin are receiving developmentally appropriate information about their child’s development.
We achieved large enrollment numbers by promoting text4baby at Austin community health fairs, reaching out to SB6 partners and teen parent support programs, and incorporating text4baby in multiple intake processes at WIC Clinics and St. David’s Hospital.
During the course of our partnership text4baby has grown not only in reach, but also in scope. The program now includes appointment services such as doctor’s appointment reminders and information about how to access CHIP and Medicaid. Here at UWATX, the Navigation Center also connects families to CHIP and Medicaid, and conducts a rural outreach campaign that now includes information on how to connect with text4baby, linking us to many families in the greater Austin community that are often harder to reach.
United Way for Greater Austin is proud to partner with text4baby. Together, we are dedicated to putting the resources and services parents need to succeed right in the palms of their hands. To sign up just text “Baby” to 511411 (or “bebe” for Spanish) or sign up online today!
Written by Jeffrey King, AmeriCorps VISTA for Success By 6 at United Way for Greater Austin. Jeff works to promote text4baby in the Austin community to make sure young parents have the skills they need to put their children on the path to success in school, work and life.