HOUSTON (KIAH) — A large amount of families across Harris County are battling the struggle of childcare as the summer months causes a disadvantage to low-income homes. Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo has been hard at work to help the community combat this issue, standing by a commitment to providing early learning resources. The Early ‘REACH’ program is providing a free outlet for quality child care to families in need in the Harris County Area. The program aims to increase education access for the youngest children of our community. Organizers ay kids who participate in early learning programs like these are more likely to graduate from high school, perform better in school, have higher rates of employment as they adult, and are less likely to run in with the criminal justice system. The ‘REACH’ program helps child care providers cover costs of operating expenses, staff wages, and recruitment efforts. Child care providers can apply for assistance if they are located in an area where there are very few childcare options or an area with greater social needs. Applications can be found at earlyreach.org.

Early REACH Applications now open (courtesy: Office of Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo)

This program has been made possible because of a $26 million in American Rescue Plan funds, the largest known investment by in county or city in the nation for early childhood learning. the investments from the ‘Early REACH’ program are expected to create up to 1,000 more slots for childcare throughout Harris County. Organizers say, they are not only helping parents and getting kids equipped for success at an early age but also setting an example for how other local governments can help families obtain a brighter future. Families are encouraged to apply as applications are now open. families are eligible if they live in Harris County, have children ages 0 to 4 years of age, and can demonstrate a financial need. If you’d like to apply, you can find the application here.