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Early Childhood Development Programs In Houston Get Bulk Of Grant Money

Advocates hope the programs will lead to better all-around health outcomes.

The grants from the Episcopal Health Foundation aim to strengthen brain development in children younger than three years old.

The majority of a $3.4 million series of grants from the Episcopal Health Foundation will go to Houston organizations.

The group announced a series of grants for programs meant to strengthen brain development in children younger than three years old, something researchers have identified as crucial for kids to reach their developmental potential. 

For kids growing up in poverty, which has been linked to deficits in language and cognitive ability, advocates have suggested early childhood programs may be a key part in improving health outcomes.

“A baby or toddler in a strong relationship with at least one caring adult will develop language, cognitive skills, and the resilience that allows him/her to face and overcome adversity,” Episcopal Health Foundation program officer Katy Butterwick said in a press release. “That includes a decreasing chance of developing serious illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and depression later in life.”

In Houston, one grant will start a three-year pilot program at the Children’s Museum to serve about 8,000 families in the Near Northside, Gulfton and Third Ward neighborhoods focused on teaching parents the effects of early back-and-forth interactions with their babies.

Another two grants will expand a parent education program at Texas Children’s Hospital and develop a clinic model focused on helping pediatric clinics take a larger role in early brain development support. The Episcopal Health Foundation says that model will later be made available to community clinics statewide.

Other grants, awarded to the Santa Maria Hostel, First3Years, Spring Branch Community Health Center, and the Rupani Foundation will establish or expand similar programs centered on interactions between parents and children.

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Davis Land

Senior Producer

Davis Land is a senior producer at Houston Public Media. He cut his teeth at Atlantic Public Media in Woods Hole, MA and at WBUR in Boston. His work has appeared on various public radio programs and podcasts including Texas Standard, Here and Now, and Marketplace. Davis is a graduate...

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