HOUSTON – The new $48 million program aimed at increasing accessibility to high-quality child care and early childhood development in Harris County was approved by the commissioners court in a 3 to 2 vote.
“Early childhood programs have one of the strongest returns on investment of any type of public program. Those positive effects also last throughout the child’s life, increasing their graduation rate and future earnings, while reducing any potential contact with the criminal justice system,” said Judge Hidalgo. “We have an obligation to go beyond just the minimum standard of funding roads and bridges and public safety. We also have an obligation to support our next generation of workers and innovators and leaders.”
The $48 million American Rescue Plan (ARPA) investment program is set to increase accessibility to high-quality child care and early childhood development by 10% in the nation’s third largest county. Approximately 105,000 children aged 0-3 with working parents live in a quality childcare desert in which there are few or no affordable options for quality childcare in their area. Because of the high cost of childcare, one parent is often forced to stay at home, preventing them from entering the workforce and costing families lost wages.
Hidalgo said the program will focus on communities where there are few to no options and will also help child care providers recover from the economic downturn during the pandemic and provide child care workers with a livable wage.
NEW: We introduce the
biggest investment for child
care in Harris County history. Tomorrow we vote on $48 million
to grow of high quality
childcare slots by 10%. We
has an obligation to act when
half of working parents do not
have a formal childcare centre
to send their children.
— Lina Hidalgo (@LinaHidalgoTX) June 13, 2022
According to Hidalgo, positive outcomes associated with early childhood programs include better school performance, higher employment rates as adults and less contact with the criminal justice system.
WATCH: Hidalgo, Commissioner Garcia Allocates $48 Million in Child Care Funding in Harris County
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