COVID Education and Childcare Committee completes its work

Published on December 08, 2021

The city’s COVID-19 Education and Childcare Advisory Committee concluded its work this fall after leading the community through aspects of the public health crisis associated with the coronavirus.

In March 2020, former Mayor Betsy Price appointed the COVID-19 Education and Childcare Advisory Committee, co-chaired by District 2 Councilmember Carlos Flores and former Councilmember Kelly Allen Gray. The committee included 12 educators, child care providers and civic leaders: Rabbi Andrew Bloom, Cesar Gamez, Quinton Phillips, Michael Steinert, Loretta Burns, Carol Klocek, Marta Plata, Daphne Barlow Stigliano, Celia Esparza, Christina McCloud, Mike Brown and Kara Waddell.

Price asked the committee to consider internet access for low-income families, training for parents to help their children with online learning tools, and child care services for the families of essential workers. Over the following 19 months, the committee worked with local school districts, child care providers, afterschool programs, and federal, state and local governments to address these concerns and other pressing issues as they arose.

Some highlights of information shared and issues addressed by the committee:

  • Addressed technology issues by working closely with Fort Worth ISD on additional hot spots and Chromebooks made available through external partners, such as public libraries, as well as tutorial videos developed to assist with online instruction.
  • Increased Wi-Fi access is being deployed in designated City of Fort Worth Neighborhood Improvement Program areas by installing equipment to improved accessibility.
  • Established a website for essential personnel to search for available child care slots in licensed programs.
  • Identified and provided child care facilities with needed supplies by working collaboratively with local agencies.
  • Helped open additional sites to assist with summer learning for students.
  • Provided $5.4 million in City of Fort Worth and Tarrant County CARES Act funds through the non-governmental organizations grant program with over 30% allocated for educational services.
  • Supported ACH Child and Family Services in providing child abuse and neglect training to agencies in view of an increase in child abuse during the pandemic.
  • Facilitated additional assistance by firefighters for the summer reading instruction program.
  • Helped with the coordinated effort to provide vaccines to education and child care workers.
  • Cooperated with the Texas Workforce Commission, which will disburse $2.7 billion for child care funding in January 2022.

A remaining challenge facing the community is finding qualified staff for child care facilities. The committee members expressed a willingness to reconvene, if necessary.

 

 

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