Childhood Development

Decades of studies have shown that children who have access to high-quality early childhood programs complete high school with lower rates of suspension, arrests, and substance abuse issues, and have higher rates of employment as adults. Under Judge Lina Hidalgo’s leadership, Harris County has embarked on the design of an Early Childhood Initiative to ensure we are serving our youngest and most vulnerable residents the best we can to set them up for successful lives. Early childhood programs have one of the strongest returns on investment for any type of public program -- by investing in children ages zero to three, we are building an ever brighter future for our County.

Key Accomplishments

  • Created a $10 million early childhood education incubator to make investments in high-impact early childhood initiatives and programs. This groundbreaking fund marks the first time Harris County has significantly invested in early childhood programs, which research demonstrates have one of the strongest returns on investment for any type of public program.
  • Funded the County Connections Youth Summer Initiative to support 43 nonprofit organizations in providing comprehensive summer programs, short term projects, and summer camps to 3,480 students at 99 sites across the County during Summer 2021. Renewed the Initiative for Summer 2022 with a $1.5M investment which will reach 7,000 children and youths.
  • Launched historic $84 million Brighter Futures for Harris County Kids Initiative, the largest allocation of funding for children in Harris County history and the largest known investment of ARPA dollars by any county or city in the nation for early childhood education, childcare, and maternal health.

    • Created the $26 million Early REACH Program to provide 1,000 new high-quality childcare slots for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers in areas of Harris County with the highest need.
  • Established a $7.7 million Maternal and Child Health Program, an evidence-based home visitation program that aims to improve and expand access to health care for Harris County mothers and children. In particular, it will address the alarming rates of maternal mortality among African American women in Harris County, who are three times more likely to die than the national average and 10 times more likely to die compared to women overall in industrialized countries.


Get the latest news and updates on our early childhood efforts.