$48 million investment in funding for childcare, early childhood development in Harris County approved by commissioners court

This is the largest amount of funding for childcare in Harris County history, Hidalgo says

Money for Harris County families from American Rescue Plan

HOUSTON – The $48 million new program that is aimed at increasing accessibility to high-quality childcare and early childhood development in Harris County has been approved by the commissioner’s 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 endure throughout the child’s life, increasing their graduation rates and future earnings while reducing any possible 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 childcare and early childhood development by 10% in the third-largest county in the nation. Approximately 105,000 children aged 0-3 with working parents live in a quality child care desert in which there are few or no affordable options for quality child care in their area. Due to the high cost of childcare, often one parent is forced to stay 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 childcare providers recover from the economic downturns during the pandemic and provide childcare workers a liveable wage.

According to Hidalgo, positive outcomes associated with early childhood programs include better school performance, higher rates of employment as adults, and less contact with the criminal justice system.

WATCH: Hidalgo, commissioner Garcia allocates $48 million in funding for childcare in Harris County

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About the Authors:

A graduate of the University of Houston-Downtown, Ana moved to H-Town from sunny southern California in 2015. In 2020, she joined the KPRC 2 digital team as an intern. Ana is a self-proclaimed coffee connoisseur, a catmom of 2, and an aquarium enthusiast. In her spare time, she's an avid video gamer and loves to travel.