ChildCareGroup traces its origins to 1901 and is considered to be the first Settlement House in Texas. The Clara Chaison Free Kindergarten and Training School, located near the corner of present-day Cedar Springs and McKinney Avenue in Dallas, was established with a single purpose – to educate and care for the children of women who worked in Dallas’ cotton industry. Through partnerships and collaborations, we have expanded our nutrition and medical services and adopted the holistic philosophy we still practice today. Over time, one thing has remained constant: our profound commitment to helping families raise intellectually, emotionally and physically healthy young children. This history of caring remains at the heart of ChildCareGroup’s mission today.
ChildCareGroup works to end the cycle of intergenerational poverty in our community by utilizing the research-based Two-Generation Approach that links our high-quality early childhood education programs with other core programs and services that help families increase self-sufficiency. As ‘early adopters’ of the 2Gen model in Dallas County, we constantly work to refine our programs and services to best meet the needs of the children and families we serve.
ChildCareGroup approaches its 120th anniversary with a rich history, filled with stories of uplifting families and making a positive impact on communities. The following is a brief summary of our proud history:
1901: The original charter, listed as the Clara Chaison Free Kindergarten and Training School of Dallas, Texas, was created on September 16, 1901. The organization was formally organized by compassionate and civic-minded people concerned about the appalling conditions in which many disadvantaged children were living. Three organizations — the Clara Chaison Free Kindergarten and Training School, the Free Kindergarten Association and the Dallas Free Kindergarten and Industrial Association — joined forces to provide day care and kindergarten for children of the women who worked in the Dallas cotton mills. The organization provided care for children, as well a school that trained kindergarten teachers.
1903: 350 children were enrolled in the Dallas Free Kindergarten and Industrial Association programs, with three child care centers operating and many children on waiting lists.
1913: The first milk station was opened by Infants’ Welfare and Milk Association. This meant there was a record documenting infant mortality. The procurement of certified milk began and there were free medical clinics and home visits by nurses.
1914: Dental services began to be offered.
1923: The organization became a member agency of Community Chest (now United Way).
1924: During the next quarter-century, the Association evolved rapidly to keep pace with the growing and changing needs of the community. Merging with the Infants and Milk Association, the Dallas Kindergarten, Nursery and Infants’ Welfare Association evolved. Southern Methodist University absorbed the Kindergarten and Training School, enabling the Association to expand the number of nurseries and infant welfare programs.
1925: The association formally merged with SMU’s School of Education.
1926: Five nurseries, two kindergartens and four milk stations were serving the community. Mrs. S. Booth led the organization at this time.
1927: Kindergarten for African American children opened in one of milk stations.
1932: The Association had eight facilities operating.
1933: The Great Depression resulted in the closing of nurseries and the African-American kindergarten. Milk stations continued.
1936: Stability started to return: Five nurseries, one African-American kindergarten and four infant welfare stations were operating at this time.
1938: The organization’s name was changed to the Dallas Day Nursery and Infants Welfare Association, with the purpose to “support day nurseries and infant welfare stations in the City of Dallas.”
1941: Seven baby clinics in were operation.
1942: The War Chest provided money for four new nurseries and a new nursery for African-American children in South Dallas.
1944: Infant care at the African-American nursery began on a trial basis. An African American kindergarten and four infant welfare stations (clinics) were in operation at this time.
1949: A new nursery for African-American children opened.
1950: Hoblitzelle Foundation donated money for two African-American nurseries.
1951: The infant welfare program was abandoned. Well-baby clinics were available through the health department.
1952: A need to focus on day care prompted the Association to transfer its infant welfare clinics to the Dallas Health Department and was renamed the Dallas Day Nursery Association.
1953: Mrs. Margaret H. Cone succeeded Mrs. S. Booth as the executive secretary of the Dallas Day Nursery Association. Mrs. Booth had held this position for 27 years.
1954: A sliding fee schedule was implemented.
1959: The first nursery outside of Dallas opened, the Pearl C. Anderson Center in Garland. Eight nurseries were in operation at this time.
1960: Family day care began a pilot project funded by St. Simon’s Board for the Episcopal Diocese for infants and after school care for older children (Dallas Day Care).
1962: Health services were discontinued.
1964: A study of the Dallas Day Nursery Association was conducted by the Council of Social Agencies of Dallas on Family Day Care. At this time, we were operating eight child care centers, family child care and some school-age programs.
1965: We served as the delegate agency for Head Start for Dallas County.
1966: The Dallas Day Nursery Association was the co-beneficiary of Crystal Charity Ball, which enabled upgrades to the following nurseries: Anderson, Bale, Bloch, Booth, Huvelle, Landauer and Wadel.
1969: The USDA began subsidizing food at $0.25 per child to improve nutrition. The agency signed the first contract with the State Department of Public Welfare for children of the Crossroads center (now called Martin Luther King Jr. Center).
1970: Our name changed to Day Care Association of Metropolitan Dallas, and we officially emerged as a multi-purpose agency offering comprehensive services through nine child care centers, family day care homes, before- and after-school programs and a baby center. The Crossroads program was open to provide comprehensive services, including child care. Sixty-nine years later, we had come full circle to where we began in 1901, “caring for children and teaching teachers.”
1971: Mrs. Margaret Cone, the executive secretary, retired.
1972: Madeline Mandell was named the new executive director. Federal and state funding was added to seven more of our centers, and the 10th center was opened. These expanded services were only possible through the use of federal and state funds.
1975: The Association implemented into practice its expanding body of knowledge about how children develop, now known as Relationship-Centered Child Care (RC3)® — a focus and commitment to helping each child feel uniquely cared about while spending long hours every day away from his or her family. There was also a merger with Rhoads Terrace Institute of Early Childhood Education and Developmental Day Care.
1976: Work began with Dallas Housing Authority in the West Dallas Housing Project.
1977: The agency received a two-year contract with the City of Dallas to recruit and train child care workers for placement in community child care centers, funded by CETA. Pointer Street Child Care Center and day homes were added to the agency, bringing the service level to more than 800 children. Through the use of federal and state funds, the agency was able to improve the care for children by adding teaching staff, social services, medical/dental exams and nutrition services.
1979: We were the sole beneficiary of Crystal Charity Ball, which led to replacing the Bloch center in Oak Cliff.
1981: The Irving and Pointer Street centers closed; Irving L. Bock opened in Oak Cliff. Services were reduced to 760 child care spaces, eight centers and 30 day homes due to reduction in federal and state day care funding.
1982: We added the Corporate Initiative Child Care Program and the Parents’ Choice Program. These new services resulted in a successful application for a federal grant and a new state contract.
1983: The agency changed its name from Child Care Association of Metropolitan Dallas to Child Care Dallas and began to conduct research into the impact of Relationship-Centered Child Care on the development of young children with extraordinary results: Children in the program for 10 months or longer demonstrated positive and significant long-term effects in their cognitive, social and physical development. Child Care Dallas served 1,000 children annually and became known throughout the community as an organization operating child development centers and a system of family child care homes serving low-income families. The Rhoads Terrace Center closed this year.
1984: Eighty-six percent of the 1,028 children served daily by Child Care Dallas were children of the “working poor.” “Follow-up studies showed that children in quality early childhood education programs, such as those provided by Child Care Dallas, have less need for costly remedial education programs in the public schools, are most likely to finish high school, hold jobs and attend college; and, are less likely to become delinquent.” Our basic mission remained the same: “to provide and promote quality child care.”
1985: The Wilene Dade Training Center opened, featuring model child care settings for centers and home-based child care.
1986: We had our first National Association for the Education of Young Children accredited center.
1991: The agency changed its name to The Child Care Group when the organization became the contractor for the child care subsidy program called “Child Care Management System-CCMS” in Dallas County, replacing its Title XX Parent’s Choice contract for the welfare recipients. Through this funding, CCMS was able to serve: families who receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); teen parents who needed care to complete high school; children who needed protective child care referred by Child Protective Services; and individuals who earned low wages and/or needed care while they attended college or a trade school.
Along with the name change, the organization developed a new mission: “The Child Care Group delivers and develops exemplary child care solutions so that parent and community aspirations for their children can be met.”
Additionally, its first for-profit center — Solana Child Development Center in Roanoke, TX — was opened. It was licensed for 75 children. IBM and Maguire Thomas Partners, the Solana developer, paid for the center’s development and agreed to subsidize a portion of the rent. About half of the children enrolled at the center had at least one parent working for IBM. Parents paid the full cost of care and the center operated at capacity for a number of years. Solana was the only Child Care Group center that was not federally subsidized. In the mid 1990s, IBM moved their offices from the Solana complex to another city and, since the area was not fully developed, the center began experiencing a drop in enrollment due to parents’ moving. At that point, the center was forced to cut back on staffing, which led to high staff turnover. In 1998, due to lack of corporate subsidies and difficulties in recruiting new staff, the center was forced to close.
1992: The Pearl C. Anderson Child Development Center in Garland, Texas, was named one of the 10 best in the country by Child Magazine.
1993: The Child Care Group was chosen from more than 50 nominees to receive the Community Council of Greater Dallas’ “Excellence in Human Services Programming Award.” The Agency became a delegate agency of Head Start of Greater Dallas.
1994: Sonya Bemporad and Roberta Bergman co-authored the Relationship–Centered Child Care White Paper: New Hope for America’s Youngest Children. Bale Day Care Center closed.
1995: We began the Head Start program at Anderson; a portable building was added with three classrooms.
1996: The Family Child Care Audit was revised to the Infant/Toddler Audit; we began codifying the program model, Relationship-Centered Child Care®; we also began a partnership with Salvation Army to look into providing child care services.
1997: Relationship-Centered Child Care was featured on ABC World News Tonight with Peter Jennings as a solution to America’s child care crisis. “Friends of the Child Care Group” was co-founded by Regen Horchow and Sally Maxson. The First Children’s Tea was held in Ms. Horchow’s residence.
1998: First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton visited our centers as a national model in February. Our model was highlighted as one of ‘Three Great Takes On Child Care’ in the May issue of Parents magazine. The Salvation Army contracted with the agency to manage its new child development center in Irving, TX. Solana Child Development Center closed.
2000: The US Department of Health and Human Service awarded The Child Care Group an Early Head Start grant, enabling the organization to expand its services for infants and toddlers and to reach out to expectant parents. Madeline Mandell, the organization’s CEO/President, retired. Mike King was named the new President/CEO.
2001: Early Head Start expanded in the Bock Center, and a new partnership with Oak Cliff United Methodist Church (UMC) helped renovate the existing building to serve infants and toddlers, as well as a limited number of preschoolers. The organization also took an existing child care center at its Twin Tower headquarters and opened a new fee based child development center. The agency’s name was changed to ChildCareGroup and a new logo was developed.
2003: The family child care program was discontinued; the UMC and Bock renovations were completed; the first Early Head Start federal PRISM review took place; and ChildCareGroup closed its center at its headquarters due to lack of enrollment. Aew mission statement was created: “To promote, deliver, and expand the best child care services available outside the home.” Additionally, Child Care Group signed a contract with UTD to perform a longitudinal study on Relationship-Centered Child Care (RC3®) and children’s development through the transition to school.
2004: Mike King resigned as Child Care Group’s President/CEO in December to head the Volunteer Center Texas Chapter.
2005: Susan Hoff was hired to serve as the President/CEO of ChildCareGroup. The agency was awarded the Texas Early Education Model (TEEM) Grant for Dallas. The project was implemented in 17 preschool classrooms in five ChildCareGroup child development centers.
The Resource and Referral Program received the 2005 Quality Assurance Consumer Education Award for their successful delivery of customer education and referral services.
2006: Governor Rick Perry visited one of our Texas Early Education Model classrooms at the Bock Center to showcase the model to Governors Mitt Romney and Matt Blunt. UTD completed its longitudinal study on RC3 and children’s development through the transition to school.
2007: Three TEEM classrooms in two of ChildCareGroup’s child development centers received the State’s new preschool certification, “School Ready” Award. ChildCareGroup was awarded the new United Way Born Learning Initiative to provide intensive, in-home parent education to more than 90 families in South and East Dallas communities.
2008: ChildCareGroup’s Child Care Assistance (CCA, formerly CCMS) program was recognized as the “Outstanding Contractor for the Child Care Subsidy Program” by Workforce Solutions Greater Dallas.
2010: The agency established the first Dallas County Child Care Alliance (DCCCA) – now known as the Dallas Early Education Alliance – as a unique collaboration of community leaders working together to identify child care needs and develop a strategy to foster and sustain a successful child care system that produces positive outcomes for all young children in Dallas County.
2011: Tori Mannes, a former ChildCareGroup trustee and board chair (2000) and Life Trustee, was hired as President/CEO of ChildCareGroup. The Child Care Assistance Program received three outstanding awards for most improved performance and increased efficiencies in order to serve more children in Dallas and Southeast Texas.
2012: ChildCareGroup relocated its administrative offices to One Mockingbird Plaza and redesigned the agency logo with the tagline, “Nurturing the Great in every child.”
2015: ChildCareGroup was awarded the Early Head Start grant for Mesquite and Balch Springs, providing services through family child care homes and home-based services. An office in Mesquite, Texas was opened.
The Board of Trustees completed a strategic plan reframing the agency’s work around the Two-Generation Approach, a poverty alleviation strategy backed by research from Aspen Institute’s Ascend Network and others. The Two Generation or 2Gen Approach links early childhood education programs with postsecondary and employment pathways for parents, economic assets, health and well-being, and social capital.
2016: The Born Learning home visiting program expanded to Plano and McKinney, and an additional office was opened in Plano.
2017: The national Parents as Teachers (PAT) organization designated ChildCareGroup as a Blue Ribbon Affiliate for its home visiting program. This national accreditation is a symbol of programs delivering high-quality services to children and families.
With commercial redevelopment and gentrification in the Bishop Arts area of Oak Cliff, ChildCareGroup sold the Bock Center and began renovation of the vacated Saner Center in West Dallas, in partnership with Catholic Charities.
2018: ChildCareGroup has come a long way, evolving from a free kindergarten and milk program into a national model for the best practices in early childhood education and holistic services for parents. Since 1901, one thing has remained constant: a profound commitment to helping families raise healthy young children. This history of caring will continue because caring about children is, and will remain, at the heart of ChildCareGroup.