Creating a community where all children can thrive.
Community Voice. Community Vision.
Thriving Children = Thriving Community


More than a decade ago, Waco Foundation commissioned a baseline study related to early childhood supports in McLennan County, known as the 2009 Childhood Quality of Life Index report as part of the SmartBabies Initiative. Early 2018 marked the official transition of the SmartBabies Initiative from Waco Foundation to United Way of Waco-McLennan County. This transition made great sense given that child well-being sits squarely at the intersection of United Way’s impact areas: health, education, financial stability and safety net services.

In continued support of earlier work, United Way is leaning into the opportunity to serve as a convener, collaborator, and funder for a countywide effort to champion child well-being and has set out to convene residents and partners to collectively broaden our understanding of issues related to children and their families as we champion progress against the 2009 baseline report. In May of 2021, the movement partners released the “Are the Children Well?” report– an updated look at the current condition of McLennan County children and families since the initial 2009 report.

In the new report, we maintained a commitment to intentionally center the voice of communities most impacted by local issues and worked to uncover inequities within McLennan County populations. An intentional focus on understanding this data, coupled with the reshaping of local practices, will lead to actionable change that will impact this community. This type of impact takes the force of an entire community, as United Way’s tagline indicates, Change Doesn’t Happen Alone.

About The Movement

We are a collaborative of residents and community partners dedicated to ensuring McLennan County children ages 0-5 and their families can thrive. With support from United Way of Waco-McLennan County and under the leadership of local residents, we work together to understand the needs of area children and families, create community solutions and take action. We believe that when every child and their family can pursue and realize their aspirations, our entire community is better for it.

Summarized Report Findings

Use the links below to download the summarized finding reports.

Taking Action

In response to the findings of the Are the Children Well? report, partners of the McLennan County Child Well-being Movement worked collaboratively with residents to develop community solutions that would strengthen our county’s ability to care for its youngest residents and their families, resulting in the McLennan County Child Well-being Community Action Plan.

Community-defined strategies and action steps outlined in the action plan reveal a grander vision for this county that includes rethinking how our local systems, policies, and community investments impact children and their families. This plan is designed to serve as a road map for improving many of our county’s current conditions so that we see an increase in positive outcomes for more children and families living in communities across McLennan County.

It is important to note that this community action plan has been designed as a living document which means that we will continually update it, understanding that as our community grows and changes, so will its unique needs. Additionally, you will see that some actions that have been included in the action plan are already happening in our county—we knew that we did not have to recreate the wheel altogether—but in some areas we may need to course-correct. In these cases, we’re recommending an expansion of current offerings or advising to ensure that services are provided within communities that would benefit from them the most.

Implementation Plan

Just as it took the partnership of numerous residents and organizational representatives to design the action plan, it will take even more partners to carry out its strategies. Many county entities have agreed to take action on these strategies and with their dedication to seeing each action step through to completion, we will see sustained progress in our community over time.

This fall, these county organizations will meet to discuss next steps in partnership and develop the various components necessary for implementation of the strategies and action steps. Stay tuned!


Frequently Asked Questions

Community Action Plan

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