Tarrant Co. Infants Face Poverty, Homelessness, Neglect: Study

Child Care Associates, the largest child care nonprofit group in North Texas, will release their study about the difficulties facing infants and toddlers in Tarrant County.

“We have very high rates of abuse and neglect and unfortunately we have one of the highest rates of infant mortality in the state," Kara Waddell, Child Care Associates president said.

Findings in Tarrant County include:

  • Six percent of expectant mothers have no access to prenatal care.
  • More 14,000 thousand children under the age of six lack health care coverage.
  • Tarrant County has the highest rate of confirmed infant and toddler abuse and neglect cases among the major metro areas in Texas.
  • One in four children live with food insecurity.
  • More than 7,400 children under the age of six are homeless.
  • 50,000 women who are of childbearing age are living below the poverty line.
  • Tarrant County had the highest rate of infant mortality among large Texas counties which is 22 percent higher than the rest of the state.

“I think studies like this give us a chance to pause and to come together and say 'is this what we want?'” Waddell said.

The information will help Child Care Associates to formulate plans and partner with local programs and agencies to tackle problems.

“We are excited with the Early Learning Alliance and the mayor's Fort Worth Literacy Partnership [there] are real opportunities where we are bringing together the different pieces of the puzzle and saying we can do better with the resources we have and if we have new resources, we know exactly where to target those," Wadell said.

Wadell said her organization will remain on the frontline helping children.

"Child Care Associates has for 49 years delivered quality early education to our highest risk children, but that's been largely three and four year olds,” she said. “We are looking over the next decade [to determine] how can we better serve infants and toddlers, which is going to be new facilities and beginning to retool the services we have for families."

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