WACO, Texas (Fox 44) – Wednesday marked the launch of a new initiative to help create a positive future for the Waco community – the McLennan County Child Well-Being Movement.

This is a collaboration among 15 different organizations – ultimately to create a community where children can thrive.

In 2018, the local United Way did research to understand the quality of life for kids five and under, along with their parents. This is where they came up with the Are the Children Well? report.

“In that process, we went out and got a lot of qualitative data from members of our community and asked what the community was really experiencing and what they needed,” Waco-McLennan County United Way CEO Wendy Ellis said.

The report addressed issues such as lack of affordable, high-quality childcare, barriers to accessing resources, and how to meet the basic needs of all families.

“Instead of having somebody in some office say, ‘This is what matters,’ we have people saying, ‘This is what matters to us,'” team member Iliana Neumann said.

The McLennan County Child Well-Being Community Action Plan provides solutions to those problems – for example, working with the City to fund out of school activities, expanding mental and physical health activities and more.

The movement is made up of different organizations and individuals across the county because this isn’t something just one organization can do on its own.

“A lot of times, we have the resources available to people, but they don’t know about it,” Ellis said. “And so, we have that information siloed and separated, and we need to break that down and make sure that people have access to the resources that are available.”

The collaboration also eliminates duplicating efforts.

“We make sure that we’re putting our resources to the highest and best use possible by working together to make sure we’re not duplicating a program or repeating something that’s already out there,” Ellis said.

For more information on this plan, or if you’d like to get involved, you can visit this link.