Resourcing families to address children living in poverty in Collin County
Collin County, north of Dallas, is one of the fastest-growing counties in the nation and is rapidly changing from its rural roots to a sprawling suburban area. Ranked among the healthiest and most prosperous counties in Texas, Collin County is home to corporate headquarters, state-of-the-art medical facilities and multimillion-dollar homes; however, the county is also dealing with increased childhood poverty, child care deserts and other issues that impact the quality of life for children and families.
The Collin County Early Childhood Coalition (CCECC) was founded in 2016 by the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas as part of its state-funded Texas Home Visiting Project to support families with children prenatal to age five. Coalition members include city leaders, nonprofits, school districts, businesses, Head Start programs and early intervention programs. CCECC determined its initial priorities – addressing childhood poverty, increasing access to high-quality, affordable child care and supporting families through parent resources and education – with data from County Health Rankings & Roadmaps.
The priorities were reflected in the formation of work groups. One workgroup – Resources for Jobs that Provide a Living Wage – is working to discover the training, support and tools parents need to acquire living wage jobs.
“We know that child poverty is increasing,” said Kristin Linscott of the Plano Public Library. “Connecting parents to community resources is a key strategy for impacting child poverty.” The workgroup is surveying families to determine how best to match resources with individual parents’ needs to build on the workforce development resources currently available through the Plano Public Library system and Workforce Solutions for North Central Texas.
CCECC also sees early childhood practitioners, advocates and service providers as essential partners and ambassadors for its work. It is building a community of practice designed to increase the quality of services provided to young children and their families through professional development sessions, networking opportunities and information about research-based best practices.
The coalition has become a trusted voice in the community and members are eager to build on its strong foundation and continue to set data-informed priorities. “For the coalition to support the community in making progress on the important issues impacting families … we must make our decisions based on the latest data,” said LeAnn Kite Hampton, coalition facilitator.
To learn more about Collin County’s work, visit its full community spotlight.