Community Status Report


Where Do We Go From Here?


With the impact of COVID-19, all eyes seem to be on the education system. In-person and online learning options, the cancelling of the 2020 STAAR test, increased health and safety precautions, and the additional work placed on teachers and administrators all combine to create an overwhelming sense of uncertainty. In addition to being the largest provider of childcare in society, students and families also depend on schools for food, mental health counseling, child safety, socialization, and so much more. Despite this dependency on school systems for more than just a formal education, funding has not kept pace with this increase in community needs. However, some experts are hopeful that COVID-19 may just be the push needed to redesign an underfunded public education system. 

Beyond the classroom, childcare providers are also in need of relief. Quality childcare is not only essential to a child’s development, it is a critical pillar of the labor market and the economy. Parents depend on childcare for their younger children as well. 

Key Takeaways
  • The price of infant care today is higher than public college tuition in most states. 
  • Region 17 is consistently higher than the state average when it comes to the percentage of economically disadvantaged students.
  • 85% of high school students graduated on time in the 2016-2017 school year across the nation which was an all-time high.
  • Lubbock County has a 13% illiteracy rate.
Things Lubbock Area United Way is Looking Out For
  • Impact of in-person vs. virtual learning on child development
  • Federal funding and assistance for childcare providers
  • Additional ways to expand the Start Smart network in Lubbock County
  • Changes in after-school programs due to COVID-19
How You Can Help



On a “good” day, many people across the South Plains are battling things like child abuse and neglect, domestic violence, sex trafficking, and other day-to-day crimes. While COVID-19 may have shifted the immediate needs to solving food insecurity, employment, and childcare, these other issues still existed and were in desperate need of help. In fact, they may be amplified as families deal with additional stress and isolation. Experts are fully expecting and preparing for increased rates of child abuse, domestic violence, divorce, and mental health to become obvious as things start to open back up. 

Key Takeaways
  • Lubbock County had a significant increase in child fatalities due to child abuse and neglect in 2019 with 5 victims losing their lives.
  • Lubbock County had more than double the rate of Family Violence (1,496 per 100,000 population) compared to the state average (690 per 100,000 population) in 2018.
  • Lubbock County had a higher rate of alcohol-impaired driving deaths (35% of driving deaths) than Texas (28%) or the United States (11%).
  • Compared to Texas rates, Lubbock County crime rates are higher in every single area except for murder which has the same rate as the state.
Things Lubbock Area United Way is Looking Out For
  • Increased/Decreases in safety issues due to COVID-19. Specifically, increases in reports of child abuse or neglect after schools reopen, increases in domestic violence, theft, robbery, and other crimes rates previously mentioned.
  • The switch to Community-Based Care through Saint Francis Ministries and the impact on child abuse, neglect, and the foster care system.
  • Local sex and labor trafficking community education opportunities with the Human Rescue Coalition.
How You Can Help
  • Educate – Learn how to spot signs of child abuse and neglect, sex trafficking, and domestic violence and what you should do if you suspect these things are occurring. De-bunk myths, stereotypes, and other misconceptions around these issues so you can help the problem. Contact us at 806-747-2711 or to get connected with a training.
  • Get involved with an organization that supports child and family safety – American Red Cross, CASA of the South Plains, Children’s Advocacy Center, Voice of Hope, and Women’s Protective Services
  • Support Families - Share resources such as parenting classes through the Parenting Cottage, encourage employees and co-workers to take time to attend school functions, help parents prioritize their own mental health so they can show up better for their children, and when you see something - say something. 


Mental Health

Mental health is an issue that effects so many other parts of our society. Ability to gain and maintain employment, child abuse and neglect, sex trafficking, family violence, homelessness, suicide rates, healthy relationships, and many issues beyond those listed here have direct correlation with mental health. With 1 in 5 U.S. adults experiencing mental illness, this should be an issue that is discussed way more than it currently is.

With the mental health needs assessment from The Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute (MMHPI), Lubbock Area United Way can begin working with other groups on ways to improve access and services across the South Plains.

Key Takeaways
  • Lubbock County has 21 psychiatrists, or 6.9 per 100,000 residents, approximately one half the national average.
  • 50% of all lifetime mental illnesses develop by age 14.
  • All 326 people age 0-17 years who were admitted to inpatient care in 2019 were hospitalized outside of the Lubbock County area due to a lack of local treatment centers.
  • 5 of 10 of the top leading causes of death are associated with Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).
Things Lubbock Area United Way is Looking For
  • The final version of the MMHPI report.
  • Action items and community groups focused on mental health through partnership with the new West Texas Mental Health Collaborative.
  • Clients served by Family Counseling Services and other mental health providers before and during COVID-19.
How You Can Help
  • Fight the Stigma – There is no shame in needing help to navigate mental health. Stigma around mental health creates environments of shame and fear that prevents many people from seeking treatment. Build your understanding and help cure the mental health stigma. 
  • Get HelpFamily Counseling Services is one of several agencies ready and willing to help you navigate your mental health. Reach out and get help today.
  • Educate – Curing the stigma is just one step in educating yourself on mental health. Learn the statistics, get involved, and find out how you can increase your understanding of mental health. You can take mental health first aid training to take your education to the next level. Contact StarCare Specialty Health System at 806-740-1421 to get started.



Key Takeaways
  • By 2025, Lubbock County’s population is projected to be 331,839.
  • 42% of families struggle to afford basic needs in Lubbock County.
  • Lubbock County has a much higher percentage rate of persons below poverty (20.1%) than the state of Texas (13.5%).
  • The Lubbock unemployment rate jumped to 10% in April 2020. Annual average is 3.0-3.2%.
  • Lubbock County had 28.6 deaths per 100,000 people from diabetes versus 20.3 for the State.
  • The mortality rate overall for Black women (273.5) is nearly double that of White women (145.7).
Things Lubbock Area United Way is Looking For
  • 2020 Census – The census is our #1 community tool in ensuring we have the state and federal resources we need to accurately serve our population. The household information provided dictates how many state and national representatives we are allocated, how much state and federal funding our community gets for hospitals, roads, and free lunch programs, and so much more. This data sets the framework for the next 10 years so it is crucial we have a high response rate. The deadline for 2020 is September 30th. Visit to respond.
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion – Lubbock Area United Way is continuing to evaluate our role in diversity, equity, and inclusion across the South Plains. Taking this work beyond just a diversity statement is key and is at the top of our priority list. 
  • 2021 Legislative Session – Planning for the next two years is more uncertain than ever. Many of our Community Partners and other nonprofits across the South Plains depend on funding from the state to carry out their programs and services. With anticipated cuts due to COVID-19, this is one of the many issues we will be monitoring over the next year.
  • Updated ALICE Report - United Ways of Texas and United Way Worldwide are in the final stages of completing an updated ALICE report to give more accurate information across Lubbock County, the State of Texas, and the U.S. as a whole. 
How You Can Help
  • Volunteer – Nonprofits across the South Plains depend on volunteers to run their organizations, serve clients, and further their mission. Yet, both the Texas and national rates of volunteers giving their time and talent to nonprofits have declined since 2002. Moreover, Texans have stopped participating at a higher rate than the rest of the country. Find a cause that speaks to you and get involved. The Volunteer Center of Lubbock is a great place to get started.
  • Give – Financial gifts to the Lubbock Area United Way and other nonprofits help ensure greater program sustainability and are key to creating positive change on the South Plains.
  • Advocate – Policies and legislation create the systems we live by every day. Find the issues you care about, do the research, vote, and speak up to legislators and representatives about what is best for your clients. A government is only as good as its people – so let’s do our part.
  • Giving •  People • Hope – We never know the struggles each of us go through on a daily basis. COVID-19, racial injustice, and political unrest have our country in a state of turmoil. A little kindness, some grace, and a lot of hope can go a long way.