County officials from across the United States came together in Fort Worth today to learn and advance programs and policies to positively impact children ages 0-3 as part of The National Association of Counties (NaCo) National Poverty Summit. The topic of Cross-Sector Efforts to Impact Student Achievement was discussed this morning as the keynote session of the National Poverty Summit. The panel included Tarrant County Commissioner Roy Charles Brooks, City of Fort Worth Mayor’s Office Chief of Staff Ms. Mattie Parker, Superintendent of Fort Worth ISD Dr. Kent Paredes Scribner, and Child Care Associates CEO Kara Waddell.
Research consistently shows that the most rapid period of brain development is in the first years of life when a baby’s brain forms more than a million new neural connections every second. The panel discussed how cognitive, social and emotional growth is critical for later success in school and the workplace and how Tarrant County is coming together to combat child and family poverty. Communities across the country are working to improve children’s school readiness by focusing on child development from ages 0-3. “We in Fort Worth and Tarrant County are connecting our evidence-based programs, meaningful data and isolated funding streams to rebuild a system that fundamentally works for our youngest Texans,” said Waddell.
Young children who enter school kindergarten-ready are more likely to read on grade level by the end of third grade. Research shows that children who are not reading on grade level by the end of third grade are unlikely to graduate high school and will have more behavioral and social problems. The panel dove into the collaborative efforts of Read Fort Worth, the Early Learning Alliance, and Child Care Associates to ensure that 100 percent of third graders are reading at grade level by 2025.
Child Care Associates is helping to lead the way through convening diverse nonprofits with the Early Learning Alliance as well as school readiness efforts with Read Fort Worth. “Child Care Associates appreciates the leadership of County Judge Glen Whitley and County Commissioner Roy Brooks in challenging us all to build innovative solutions for young children,” said Waddell. Brooks is serving as the 2017-18 President of the National Association of Counties (NACo). The NaCo Poverty Summit runs December 7-9, 2017.