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History

Collaborative for Children’s roots go back to 1987, when we were established to support working mothers. But over the years, we have evolved into so much more, becoming the recognized leader in pursuing and advocating for high-quality early childhood education and making it available to kids throughout Greater Houston.

1987

Initiatives for Children is formed to provide child care resource and referral services to companies in the Houston area, particularly in response to the growing number of working mothers in the late 1980s.

1988

Initiatives for Children begins offering caregiver training through a broad-based program called “Family to Family” for home-based child care programs, providing child care resources and referral services to 365 parents from 11 companies.

1989

Child care resources and referrals are made available to all families at no cost.

1990

Child care resource and referral services grow rapidly, expanding to 75 companies and handling 180 intake calls each month.

An award-winning video, “Family Child Care: Building a Bright Future,” is produced for parents and caregivers about quality home-based child care.

1991

In collaboration with the University of Texas, Project PEACH is created to reduce hazards in family child care homes.

Initiatives for Children launches Child Care Aware, a consumer education campaign about quality child care.

1992

Corporate HANDS, the nation’s largest locally managed business collaboration, is established to enhance the quality and availability of child care in Greater Houston.

One of three model sites statewide is created to increase the availability of child care options for special needs children through collaboration with local organizations, enhanced referrals to parents, and child care training.

1994

Initiatives for Children introduces “Family to Family” training in Spanish and Vietnamese.

1995

Referral services are expanded to include public and private schools and parenting support.

Training is provided to 8,800 caregivers, and $187,000 in grants is awarded to child care programs for educational equipment and materials.

1996

Roughly 7,300 families are served with referral and consultation services about child care, schools, and parenting classes.

1997

Greater Houston Collaborative for Children, an alliance of foundations interested in funding multi-agency collaborations to serve young children and their families, is formed. Its mission is to foster healthy child and family development through community partnerships emphasizing collaboration.

1998

Initiatives for Children and Neighborhood Centers Inc. are selected to receive five-year grants from the Greater Houston Collaborative for Children. With this funding, Initiatives for Children launches the Family-Centered Child Care Collaborative.

Initiatives for Children publishes child care resource and referral information on a web-accessible database.

2002

Bright Beginnings, funded by ExxonMobil and sponsored by United Way, is launched to dramatically improve child care quality at participating centers.

2002-2006

Greater Houston Collaborative for Children and Initiatives for Children work together on three major projects: Early Connections, a public awareness campaign on the importance of a child’s early years; Preschool for ALL, a research and policy initiative to expand investment in and quality of early education; and HELP for Kids, a child care quality improvement initiative in Gulfton.

2004

Initiatives for Children and Greater Houston Collaborative for Children merge to form Collaborative for Children.

2008

Collaborative for Children launches College Bound from Birth, an intensive child care quality improvement initiative, in Houston’s Sunnyside neighborhood.

We enhance our child care referral service by adding information on how programs rank on nationally recognized standards of quality such as teacher-to-child ratios and training. The service is renamed QualiFind.

Hurricane Ike hits the Texas Gulf Coast resulting in severe damage to hundreds of child care programs. We work with funders and partners to provide grants and training to almost 400 impacted programs.

2009-2011

As a result of the economic recession’s impact on child care providers, Collaborative for Children receives a federal stimulus grant to provide teacher training, classroom and outdoor equipment, development of online courses, and an expansion of the QualiFind resource and referral service.

2010

Collaborative for Children begins offering the Parents as Teachers national parenting curriculum to families with children up to 36 months of age.

2015

After a successful pilot in Sunnyside, the College Bound from Birth program expands to the Aldine neighborhood.

As the state’s contractor to implement the updated Texas Rising Star quality rating improvement system in the 13-county area, Collaborative for Children recruits and provides mentoring services for child care providers to earn their new Texas Rising Star certification.

2016

College Bound from Birth expands to Houston’s Third Ward.

2017

Greater Northside becomes the fourth neighborhood in the College Bound from Birth program.

2018

Melanie Johnson, Ed.D., becomes president and CEO of Collaborative for Children.

The President’s Circle is launched.

2019

Collaborative for Children conducts an extensive agency-wide evaluation and develops a forward-thinking plan to ensure Houston-area children learn the 21st-century skills required for tomorrow’s workforce.

The agency receives a $3 million grant from the Texas Workforce Commission to establish a Child Care Business Accelerator to improve the quality of child care in Texas and to increase the number of Texas Rising Star providers. Texas A&M University’s Bush School of Government and Public Policy Center for Nonprofits and Philanthropy and its Mays Business School are partners on the accelerator project.

Collaborative for Children hosts its first President’s Circle reception and breakfast.

2020

Collaborative for Children begins to test-pilot innovative programs, including emergent literacy, dual generation learning, and digital literacy, for its 2021-25 vision plan. The agency seeks to improve child outcomes and equip children with the 21st century skills they will need to succeed in the workforce of tomorrow. During the height of the pandemic Collaborative for Children in conjunction with Harris County, the City of Houston and the Gulf Coast Workforce Board helped more than 10,000 essential workers connect with a child care provider through findchildcarenow.org, so parents could keep working.

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