SmartBabies Initiative

In McLennan County, approximately 49% of women have their first child at 20 years or younger. Research informs us that children born to women under the age of 20 have a higher risk for low birth weight and infant mortality; have fewer skills and are less prepared to learn when they enter kindergarten; and are more likely to give birth as a teen.

In 2009, the Waco Foundation commissioned a study to develop a central baseline for understanding the current condition of the youngest residents in McLennan County. On a 100-point scale using 12 risk factors most closely linked to a child’s health and education development, McLennan County had an average quality of life for children 0-3 of only 41.67%. Waco Foundation trustees recognized the need for a central, comprehensive early childhood initiative, thereby launching the SmartBabies Early Childhood Initiative to ensure our youngest citizens have an early childhood environment that is necessary for a happy, productive life.

Today, the community’s engagement in the work of SmartBabies is higher than ever before which is why the Foundation made the decision to transition the SmartBabies Initiative from Waco Foundation to a more “boots on the ground” agency so the initiative can evolve to the next phase. In September 2017, Waco Foundation’s Board of Trustees authorized funding to transition the SmartBabies Initiative to the United Way of Waco-McLennan County.


LAST YEAR IN MCLENNAN COUNTY. UNITED WAY FUNDED PARTNER PROGRAMS PROVIDED:
20,549
low-income children access to
Early Childhood Education
classes and quality afterschool and summer programs
33,753
low/uninsured families with access to
Medical Screenings and Health Exams
as well as prescription assistance and other therapy needs
150,498
children, adults, and families with
Meals and Bags of Groceries
over 46,000 eligible children, adults and families
4,602
low-income pregnant girls and women
Pregnancy Related Care Needs
including prenatal care, resource assistance, and parenting classes
22,344
families and individuals with
Family and Domestic Violence Care
including access to shelters, resource counseling, and case management