ECI Portfolio Page Pic 1

Early Childhood Impact Funds (ECIF):

The Early Childhood Impact Fund (ECIF) provides funding to organizations and programs with the goal of dramatically improving early childhood outcomes in Harris County. ECIF funds support diverse programming that could lead to sustainable and scalable early childhood solutions for county residents.

The priorities for ECIF include but are not limited to: 

  • Quality improvement for child care
  • Supporting the health and wellbeing of families and providers
  • Improving access to child care in under resourced areas

Currently 5 organizations are implementing programming through use of ECIF, Collaborative for Children, First3Years, Kids Meals, Rupani Foundation, and Texas Children’s Hospital. Details about these respective programs can be found under the focus area of alignment.

High Quality Affordable Child Care and Out of School Learning

ECI Portfolio Page Pic 2

County Connections

The County Connections Youth Summer Initiative (County Connections) was created to fill the pandemic-related gaps in learning and enrichment opportunities for children and youth ages 5-18 in the county. Youth and children have faced unique challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic including economic hardship and school closures, all of which have detracted from their learning and negatively impacted health and wellbeing. The purpose of this program is to address these challenges by reducing educational disparities in existing enrichment services for youth. County Connections sponsors (full or partial) scholarships to assist families with program fees, funds college and career readiness initiatives for older children, and supports the costs of organizations in offering these programs. For more information visit

Early REACH:

Early REACH (Raising Educational Access for Children in Harris County) is an innovative pilot program dedicated to revolutionizing early childhood education in Harris County. Our mission is to bridge the gap in quality child care by employing a contracted slots model, enhancing the capacity of providers to deliver exceptional care.

In collaboration with high-quality child care centers, Early REACH aims to introduce 800-1,000 new child care slots strategically located in or near child care deserts with a high social vulnerability index. Our primary focus is on the children with the least access to care: infants, toddlers, and 3-year-olds from families with low incomes residing in high poverty areas.

This initiative recognizes that a nurturing environment is crucial for a child's development. Therefore, also commits to supporting the staffing of child care environments by ensuring a living wage for classroom staff and fostering optimal working conditions to minimize teacher turnover. In addition to providing quality care, Early REACH is dedicated to cultivating strong and sustainable small businesses within the child care sector. Participant’s entrepreneurial practices are actively developed contributing to the longevity and success of child care providers.

Through Early REACH, Harris County strives to make quality early childhood education accessible to every child in the county. Early REACH is not just a program; it's a commitment to building a brighter future for our youngest learners.

To learn more about Early REACH visit


The Supportive, Healthy, Inspiring, Nurturing, Environments (SHINE) for Early Childhood Facilities Fund, is dedicated to fostering the growth and development of early childhood facilities in the Harris County region by providing financial support, technical assistance, and training.

This initiative aims to empower child care providers to create safe, nurturing, and inspiring environments for our youngest community members. Through targeted funding and comprehensive support, Harris County strives to enhance the learning environments of early childhood education and care in the area.

To learn more about SHINE visit

Early Childhood Educator Workforce

ECI Portfolio Page Pic 3ECI Portfolio Page Pic 4

Early Childhood Impact Funds – Centers of Excellence (COE)

Collaborative for Children is facilitating their Centers of Excellence (COE) Program across Harris County to provide a 3-tier model of support and training for children, families and child care staff.

Child care centers in the Level 1 Model have the highest need, with 50% or more children receiving subsidies. These centers will receive intense on-site and remote intervention along with a professional learning community and access to the Collab-Lab. The COE Level 2 Model provides services to centers that have less than 50% of children receiving subsidies. Their focus is on teacher development, on-demand training, professional learning communities and Collab-Lab visits. The COE Level 3 Model provides pop-up centers to shelters, apartment complexes, community parks and large-scale events to connect families to resources that support social emotional learning and STEAM activities. For more information visit

Early Learning Quality Networks (ELQN)

The Early Learning Quality Networks (ELQN) program aims to raise the local community's voice about the early childhood needs in Harris County. Through a collaborative effort between the Network Support Hub (NSH) - Children at Risk and Local Network Organizations (LNO) - East Harris County Empowerment Council, Harris County Public Library, VN Teamwork, and YMCA of Greater Houston, this program will empower communities to shape and enhance early childhood education across the county.

The LNOs will engage directly with communities to assess the current state and gain insight that will inform the development of a child care quality action plan tailored to meet the specific needs of the community being served. With the support of the NSH funds and resources will be mobilized to implement the community action plans created.

Vulnerable Populations

ECI Portfolio Page Pic 5ECI Porfoilo Page Pic 6

Early Childhood Impact Funds – Kids’ Meals Inc 

Kids’ Meals Inc. provides children relief from severe food insecurity and food deserts in poverty-stricken neighborhoods. The organization aims to end generational poverty by providing children with meals until they reach kindergarten thus negating low school engagement, substandard academic development, and poor emotional and physical health. Kids’ Meals also delivers meals for every child in the home up to age 18 during the summer when most children do not have access to food in a school-based setting. A secondary component of Kids’ Meals is to distribute educational materials, essential information about vital wrap around services and distribute monthly newsletters which detail services and programs offered by collaborative social service partners. For more information visit .

Early Childhood Impact Funds – Safe Babies

Safe Babies implemented by First3Years, promotes secure attachments for infants and toddlers in foster care with positive collaboration between birth and foster parents and supporting reunification staff and stakeholders at every level of the foster care system. For more information visit

Harris County RISE

RISE supports the continuum of care for young children with disabilities in Harris County through dedicated specialists, early intervention services, and transitional applied behavior analysis transitional services. For more information visit

Harris County Inspire

Inspire will address inequities associated with the social determinate of health by providing grants to qualifying families to promote community inclusion and prevent institutionalization. Inspire participants can receive up to $5,000 in financial assistance for assistive technology, learning materials, and/or services directly related to the disability, plus $1,000 for respite care (apx. 100 hours). For more information visit

Harris County Helping Hands

Helping Hands aims to facilitate the enrollment of 1000 eligible families and children in public safety-net benefits programs. This initiative is designed to assist disproportionately impacted households in accessing essential public benefits and services offered by the Harris County Office of County Administration. Furthermore, the program will enhance local organizational expertise and capacity to sustain ongoing enrollment efforts for Harris County residents, addressing participation gaps and fostering continued prosperity with vital support.

Harris County Early Childhood Resiliency Fund

Harris County Early Childhood Initiatives aims to support the Domestic Violence (DV) and Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) response network, alongside the local IPV and DV response network in Harris County, to address the developmental needs of young children exposed to IPV and DV in Harris County. Through the Early Childhood Resiliency Fund, efforts will be made to mitigate the adverse developmental effects of early violence exposure by supporting trauma-informed programs and strategies tailored for these children. The fund seeks to target children aged 0-8 in Harris County, providing therapeutic and developmental interventions to counteract the negative impacts of DV and IPV exposure

Parent Education

Early Childhood Impact Funds – upWORDS

UpWORDS implemented by Texas Childrens Hospital is a 15-week early language development program which is offered universally to families with children 0-3 years of age. It is a part of the upWORDS Community Model, a tiered framework in which universal and targeted interventions work in tandem to achieve goals of supporting early brain development and reducing developmental disparities in Harris County. In addition, the Community Model also provides training to early care professionals that work with young children on topics including early brain and language development and positive parenting.

Their initiatives include language development programs, home visitation for new moms, developmental pediatrics for identified children, programming for children exhibiting speech and language delays, extended parent training, care coordination, training for early care professionals and providing families with kits containing educational resources. For more information visit. For more information visit

Early Childhood Impact Funds –Rupani Foundation 

The Rupani Foundation uses community-driven approaches to provide holistic, culturally relevant support programs for resource-limited families parenting or expecting infants and toddlers. By partnering with the Hackett Center for Mental Health and Children’s Museum Houston for their “Thriving Together” program, they hope to amplify their efforts hope to improve relational health between caregivers and young children, build caregiver knowledge and skills for nurturing interactions, and address common feelings of isolation and stress within families facing systemic barriers. For more information visit

Data & Analysis

Rapid Assessment of Pandemic Impact on Development (RAPID)

The Rapid Assessment of Pandemic Impact on Development Survey (RAPID Survey) is an ECI initiative that surveys communities around Harris County on the impacts of covid on families of young children 0-5 years old. Harris County is partnering with Stanford University, the administrator, and University of Houston’s Institute for Research on Women, Gender and Sexuality, the facilitator, to implement this survey in Harris County over 2 years.