Welcome to the Institute to Advance Child Care (IACC)
April 12, 2022
OUR STORY: 54 years ago, Child Care Associates (CCA) was founded when Fort Worth, Arlington and Tarrant County families were struggling with the issues of child care. Our community envisioned a nonprofit of scale that could help take on issues for young children and working families in the decades to come. Ever since we’ve been championing the vision of all children, regardless of neighborhood or circumstance, accessing high quality early learning and care. Today, CCA operates 20 early learning campuses and partners with 5 ISDs supporting the learning of over 1,800 infants, toddlers and preschoolers with Head Start, Early Head Start, PreK and child care services. CCA also has been helping improve the quality of care through mentorship and supports with the Texas Rising Star program with nearly 200 quality-rated child care programs across the community. 100s of early educators are supported with coaching and mentorship through business coaching, instructional quality and social-emotional support. CCA also supports lower-income working families to access quality care helping to offset the expense for over 12,000 families in Tarrant County.
THE INSTITUTE to ADVANCE CHILD CARE: CCA has been supporting the 1,000+ child care programs in our community for many years with coaching, training, grants, community coordination as well as representation for child care at the state level. CCA has also been tracking important child care data, leading innovations in both our local early learning approaches and helping to set the bar for quality statewide. We thought it was time to “hang up our shingle” and formalize these critical efforts specific to community-based child care programs as the Institute to Advance Child Care, a distinct department at CCA focused on the child care delivery system. CCA’s policy department will also operate out of the Institute.
WHY AN INSTITUTE?
Child care programs are experiencing a market failure. Access to quality and affordable child care is diminishing throughout Texas. The child care industry is in desperate need to increase compensation to a meaningful, livable level, in order to keep the workforce necessary and to keep child care classrooms open. There is also a need to move these classrooms to the research-based levels of quality which includes a strong curriculum, supported educators, and quality early learning environments, which takes another hefty ongoing investment. Unfortunately, many parents cannot afford the cost of child care today, which currently does not include any of these investments. The Institute will begin collaborating with community leaders and interested groups to reimagine the child care ecosystem as a building block to energize economic development in North Texas.
Child care programs need a strong voice, and an Institute can help to ensure child care providers are represented in local and state decision-making. Furthermore, the Institute can help to better distinguish CCA current direct services from CCA’s support services to the child care system as a whole. The Institute is helping to better represent the needs of child care and working families as we design a coordinated system of early learning from 0-5 locally and in the state of Texas.
The Institute to Advance Child Care will work alongside current advocate groups, market stakeholders, and child care providers to consolidate knowledge and ongoing efforts… helping the child care system build a sustainable model for quality. Local officials have also aligned to form a Blue Ribbon Action Committee to advise the Institute. Led by North Texas Community Foundation’s Rose Bradshaw and the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas’s Alfreda B. Norman as co-chairs, the Blue Ribbon Action Committee is comprised of a team of business, philanthropic and community leaders across North Texas, each with unique perspectives and backgrounds applicable to help identify innovative solutions for the most pressing issues related to child care in Tarrant County. The Blue Ribbon Action Committee will help define and guide this initiative with initial focus in four key areas:
- Places and spaces.Expanding and improving quality early education infrastructure and classrooms, especially for infants and toddlers.
- Early educator workforce.Advancing approaches that design and sustainably rebuild a strong pipeline for a corps of quality early educators.
- Sustainable cost model.Advancing cost modeling and layered funding to cover the true costs of quality child care
- Mixed delivery 0-5 system.Advancing approaches that invest in our community-based child care and ensure pre-kindergarten can be delivered in community-based early learning centers in addition to elementary schools.
To lead the Institute to Advance Child Care, Child Care Associates has hired Willie Rankin as its Director. Over the last ten years, Rankin has become known in North Texas for building strong collaborative partnerships throughout the community. A Marine Corps and Iraqi War veteran, Rankin learned early on the importance of leadership and collaboration to stand up operations and design solutions. Most recently as the Executive Director of LVTRise, Rankin helped the organization revitalize the Fort Worth Las Vegas Trail community bringing in new resources and valued partners to serve alongside residents of the community. Rankin brings a critically needed fresh eye to the child care space and can help seek solutions that benefits cross sector stakeholders. Rankin intends to invest his initial weeks and months to a listening tour and engaging stakeholders, while also building up immediate implementation for funded efforts with recent ARPA investments. [email protected]
For more information or for more information about new roles soon to be posted, please reach out to [email protected]. Be on the lookout for the Institute’s landing page with new digital resources to share data and findings from the Institute’s work and to promote promising early learning efforts in Texas and across the U.S.