Texas Tech University

Early Head Start Wins $500K Grant to Educate Low-Income Children

Heidi Toth

April 1, 2015

The partnership with Lil' Precious Steps is part of the East Lubbock Promise Neighborhood initiative.


Texas Tech University's Early Head Start received a grant worth more than $500,000 to provide comprehensive, year-round child care services for almost 100 children in East Lubbock.

Some of those children will get that child care in a newly renovated firehouse in East Lubbock.

The four-year grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will allow the Early Head Start program to partner with day care center Lil' Precious Steps. The two groups connected through the East Lubbock Promise Neighborhood grant and provided child care for more than 50 children. This grant will fund child care for 40 more children at a cost of $828,771 for the first 18 months. Funding for three more years is $512,842 annually.

This is the first partnership of its kind in the region, said Stephanie Shine, the early children program director in Texas Tech's Department of Human Development and Family Studies. It's a testament to all the good that is happening in East Lubbock.
“The child care partnership is a brand new initiative from the Department of Health and Human Sciences and we are excited to work with our sister center, Lil' Precious Steps,” Shine said. “We look forward to working closely to offer services to more infants, toddlers and families in East Lubbock.”

Because of the growth, Lil' Precious Steps expanded its space. Director Charlotte McCarty found an old firehouse in East Lubbock and has turned it into her new facility. As her child care center moves from a for-profit to a nonprofit, she's focusing on reaching children she hasn't been able to before. She's also patterning her curriculum after the local schools.

“We're just trying to make this one big family thing here on the east side, so whatever they're doing in school, it can start right now,” she said.

DHHS' Administration for Children and Families instituted its Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships in 2014 to promote collaboration between Early Start programs and child care providers. More than $435 million was awarded to organizations throughout the country.

Lil' Precious Steps Open House

From 10 a.m. to noon Saturday (April 4), there will be an open house for the Lil' Precious Steps Early Learning Center. The public is invited to the event at 918 Zenith St. in Lubbock. Shine said people can tour the redone building, eat barbecue and meet the families whose children have gone to Lil' Precious Steps through the years. Texas Tech College of Education Dean Scott Ridley, community activist T.J. Patterson and representatives of the Lubbock Independent School District and My Brother's Keeper are expected to attend.

About the East Lubbock Promise Neighborhood

The East Lubbock Promise Neighborhood is a U.S. Department of Education-funded initiative to support and advocate for the families of East Lubbock. The project, which started in 2012, aims to increase opportunities for improved health, early learning, education and community involvement in Lubbock's largely low income east neighborhoods. Texas Tech's College of Education is the principal investigator of the grant, but other colleges, including the College of Human Sciences and the College of Visual and Performing Arts, are active participants in ELPN programs.

Texas Tech's Early Head Start and Lil' Precious Steps also are both members of East Lubbock Community Alliance, a collaboration of community partners for the betterment of East Lubbock.