Tarrant County and Fort Worth are fortunate to have people who are focused on making life better for all residents and have the means to help.
We’re fortunate to have local organizations that aim to fill community needs.
But nowhere is there an abundance of riches. That means we must have periodic assessments of needs, resources and the best way to match them up to do the greatest good.
Drawing on a wealth of data, Growing Up in North Texas 2016: A Community Assessment for Tarrant County identifies family economic stability, literacy rates at third grade, infant mortality and child maltreatment as primary areas that could use civic and philanthropic attention.
A few revealing data points:
Tarrant County’s child poverty rate is lower than comparable counties, but a disproportionate share of poor children are black or Hispanic.
Almost 26,000 children from birth to age 5 who are living in poverty are not served by an early education program.
Almost half (46 percent) of pregnant women do not receive prenatal care in their first trimester.
Since 2011, Tarrant County has seen a 62 percent increase in resettlements by refugees fleeing their native countries. Myanmar (formerly Burma) is the most frequent country of origin.
The report also identifies strategies in areas of need. Some examples:
Providing financial coaching for low-income parents while helping children improve school performance and encouraging college preparation.
Link providers of early education programs with data on student achievement in elementary schools, looking for ways to improve early education and drive greater achievement.
Ensure early access to quality social, emotional and behavioral healthcare.
Train parents and educators to recognize and respond to child abuse.
This is a valuable and useful report, and these agencies are to be commended for their work.