SmartBabies Initiative

 Visit the SmartBabies website for parents & Caregivers!

In McLennan County, approximately 49% of women have their first child at 20 years or younger, according to the 2013 Waco-McLennan Community Health Needs Assessment1. Research informs us that children born to women under the age of 20 have a higher risk for low birth weight and infant mortality; have fewer skills and are less prepared to learn when they enter kindergarten; and are more likely to give birth as a teen2.

Waco Foundation strives to improve the quality of life for all the citizens of McLennan County. In 2009 the Foundation commissioned a study to develop a central baseline for understanding the current condition of the youngest residents in McLennan County (access the full report here [PDF].) On a 100 point scale using 12 risk factors most closely linked to a child’s health and education development, McLennan County has an average quality of life for children 0-3 of only 41.67%. While working with agencies and collaborations, Waco Foundation trustees recognized the need for a central, comprehensive early childhood initiative, thereby launching SmartBabies Early Childhood Initiative. Overall, the Initiative strives to increase the quality of life for all citizens by improving the quality of life for children 0-3 years old.

SmartBabies Early Childhood Initiative began in 2011 with three strategic goals.

  • Goal 1: Promote general awareness within the community about the issue of early childhood development and parent engagement.
  • Goal 2: Develop and maintain an inventory of local early childhood programs and resources.
  • Goal 3: Facilitate the development and implementation of a strategic plan that will raise the Early Childhood QLI by 10% within five years, in all zip codes where the QLI is below the County’s overall score of 41.67%.

The vision of SmartBabies Early Childhood Initiative is to ensure that our youngest citizens have an early childhood environment that is necessary for a happy, productive life as citizens, future workers and leaders in this community.

For more information about SmartBabies Early Childhood Initiative contact Ashley Weaver, Director of the SmartBabies Initiative via email or phone 254.754.3404.


Phone: 254-754-3404
Fax: 254-753-2887


1227 N. Valley Mills Drive
Suite 235
Waco, TX 76710

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