It has been 15 years since Lubbock Area United Way began Success By 6 as an initiative. The importance of making sure that children are healthy and prepared to enter school cannot be overstated. Seven years later Success In School and Success For Life completed the vision for all stages of life. It is no longer an initiative; it is our roadmap and at the heart of what Lubbock Area United Way and our Community Partners do.
In 2009 a scorecard was developed with indicators to track the progress, or lack of progress, toward the goals of education. Because statewide assessments for school readiness were not available, retention of students in Kindergarten and First Grade were tracked. High retention is indicative of a lack of school readiness.
Now for the first time, the Texas Education Agency has made statewide results available for Early Childhood Assessments. The information will serve as a benchmark for future comparisons of Region 17 and other regions throughout Texas as more information is made available.
The first step for children arriving ready for school is to be born full term and healthy. Many of the risk factors for poor birth outcomes can be mitigated or prevented with good prenatal care.
Looking back to 2001, Lubbock County's percentage of women who began prenatal care during the first trimester was 76%. More recently, the average from 2009 to 2013 was only 62.5%. The Lubbock area is not moving in the right direction. It is important to remain vigilant in efforts to ensure access to prenatal care, and continue awareness efforts so that women will seek care within the first trimester of pregnancy.
Lubbock Area United Way is committed to staying the course. Our strategy remains to keep our focus on education and to fund programs that provide people of all ages with the tools they need to be successful. With the support of our great community and with the outstanding work done by our Community Partners, United Way will continue to pursue our mission of Giving People Hope.