Institute to Advance Child Care (Prime)

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Welcome to the Institute to Advance Child Care's (IACC)
Prime Early Learning Program Pilot


Child care providers are heroes in our communities, ensuring busy parents can go to work knowing that their children are safe and supported. Although communities and employers rely on stable, affordable child care, providers struggle to operate sustainable business models, retain an effective educator workforce, and afford to provide high quality care that prepares children for success in school. In Texas, like many states, providers accept child care subsidy rates below rates paid by tuition-paying families and these rates do not come close to the true costs of care. This creates a persistent revenue gap for child care providers, making care that accepts public subsidy assistance less available, less stable, and lower quality for everyone.


Child Care Associates (CCA) and the CCA Institute to Advance Child Care (IACC) aims to solve for this revenue gap and, via a pilot, offer competitively selected child care providers the opportunity to have a stable, high-quality business model. CCA seeks to use Tarrant County Fiscal Recovery Funds (FRF) funding to pilot a program and study that creates a new cost and payment methodology. These new approaches aim to offset some of the fixed costs of quality child care. This new payment methodology will provide a monthly amount of base overhead funding to providers, on top of their existing per-child funding streams. In return, providers agree to follow a set of expectations (detailed below). 


CCA will partner with SMU to learn from this pilot, with the intention of broadly sharing lessons learned and scaling solutions over time. Providers who choose to participate in the research study are critical partners in advancing a new approach to using public funding for child care for the North Texas region and the state.


About the Pilot in Tarrant County

From 2022-2024, the IACC will partner with the Texas Policy Lab and SMU to work with child care providers in the Prime Early Learning pilot with two phases: an initial phase 1 of planning, followed by a phase 2 of implementation. 

Through this pilot, IACC will identify the overhead fixed costs associated with providing high-quality care. 


Once those costs are identified, IACC will use them to determine foundational funding amounts for providers. This child care foundational funding will be in addition to any existing funding sources participating providers already receive or qualify to receive, including per-child subsidy payments.

This pilot is limited to child care providers at the highest level of the Texas Rising Star system (TRS 4-star) in Tarrant County, Texas. Regulated child care providers include both centers and homes, but must be currently serving infants and/or toddlers. Listed below is information for Early Learning Prime Providers – ENROLLING NOW! More resources are linked below for interested providers.

To Learn More
  • Application Guidelines and printable applications can be found here
  • The webinar reviewing the application with the IACC staff can be found here
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Informational one-pager 
  • The Child Care Infant and Toddler Infrastructure Expansion Project is supported with American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds administered by Tarrant County. To learn more about Tarrant County ARPA, log onto


Director’s Toolkit

More information on CCA’s Institute to Advance Child Care