Before COVID-19, 1 in 5 children in Texas lived below the poverty line and the state ranked 43rd in child well-being. After COVID-19, with quarantines pushing parents out of work, keeping students out of school, and taxing our social safety-net,  those numbers will grow.

Under new financial strain, Texas policymakers will face pressure to cut budgets, reduce services, and limit new investments in children’s programs, even when Texas families need help the most. Now more than ever, public officials need quality research and data analysis to make informed policy decisions and prioritize children. As a research-informed policy advocacy organization with strong connections across the state, CHILDREN AT RISK is continuing to drive systems-level change. To continue to improve the lives of the 7.3 million children that call Texas home, we are enacting a 3-point strategy in this time of crisis.


parents, partners, and policymakers of resources and best practices


with nonprofit & community leaders across sectors


for policies that protect our most vulnerable families


2022-2023 CHILDREN AT RISK’s Annual School Rankings

For the past nineteen years, CHILDREN AT RISK (C@R) has ranked and graded Texas public schools to help parents, educators, and community members better understand how their local schools are performing. By providing this information to parents and educators, C@R hopes to encourage greater accountability and transparency in the education system. These grades are intended to be a starting point...

read more

Growing Up In Houston: Assessing the Quality of Life of Our Children

Data must be the catalyst for any conversation regarding the well-being of our children. However, data alone is not sufficient. We must also overlay context to better understand the complexities of the many issues facing our children. Growing Up in Houston aims to do just that.

read more

Voices from the Field: Child Care Struggles Through COVID-19

Child care centers and family child care homes provide an indispensable resource to parents across Texas. Quality child care is crucial for the development and early education of young children. Despite the importance of this essential industry, child care centers are among the most economically vulnerable businesses in Texas today. Temporary, extended, and permanent closures of child care...

read more

REPORT: Classrooms in Crisis

COVID-19 changed our public education landscape nearly overnight. Thousands of Texas schools and nearly 5.5 million students faced a school year like never before. Schools had to quickly develop tools andresources that would support the pivot to a virtual classroom and had to shift to educating children in crisis, learning a whole new suite of software and skills all while grappling with a...

read more

How Caregivers Can Be Aware of – and Support – Their Child’s Mental Health

By Jarret GuajardoChildren’s mental health is a key element of child wellbeing, one that is too often neglected. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, one in five US children aged 12-17 had experienced a major depressive episode, 37% of high school students had reported feeling persistently feeling sad or hopeless in the past year, and one in five had seriously considered attempting suicide.  However,...

read more

Which Texas Schools Were Most Resilient?

For more than a decade, CHILDREN AT RISK (C@R) has ranked and graded Texas public schools to help parents, educators, and community members understand how schools in their community are performing, and to spark dialogue on the quality of public education across Texas. This year, when CHILDREN AT RISK would normally be putting out the 2021 School Rankings, we will instead be releasing the School...

read more

Attendance & Learning in the time of COVID-19

IN THE TIME OF COVID: Attendance & LearningResearch shows that students who attend school regularly earn higher grades are more likely to graduate and are better prepared for college. The pandemic made it difficult for many students to attend and engage in school, having a significant impact on their academic progress. How has COVID-19 affected student attendance?The pandemic made it more...

read more

Special Education in the time of COVID-19

IN THE TIME OF COVID: Special EducationSpecial education policies help ensure students with disabilities are placed in the most appropriate environments with the accommodations necessary to meet their learning needs. How has COVID-19 affected special education?For students with special learning needs, the COVID-19 pandemic was even more devastating. Many of these students struggled with a lack...

read more

Student Mental Health in the time of COVID-19

IN THE TIME OF COVID: Student Mental HealthMental health is an important issue that affects students every day. Having access to mental health services can reduce the stress caused by difficult situations and improve academic performance. Post-pandemic it is more important than ever to support the mental and physical well-being of students.How has COVID-19 affected mental health for...

read more

In the Time of COVID: Student Rights and School Policies

IN THE TIME OF COVID: School Policies & Student RightsCOVID-19 changed our public education landscape overnight. Thousands of Texas schools and nearly 5.5 million students had to adapt to new policies and health guidelines. As schools grapple with COVID's impact, CHILDREN AT RISK investigated how key policies changed, what rights parents may need to protect, and what policy changes schools...

read more

School Discipline

IN THE TIME OF COVID: School DisciplineSchool discipline policies are guidelines that outline the rules of a school. They're important because they help to keep order in schools and to protect students from violence or abuse by other students, teachers, or administrators. In extreme cases, school discipline policies can also result in children being subject to the criminal justice system.How has...

read more

TREC Hosts Racial Equity Roundtable on Going Back to School under COVID-19

On Wednesday, September 29, CHILDREN AT RISK and the Texas Racial Equity Collaborative launched the first in a series of monthly roundtables centered on racial equity first These monthly Racial Equity Rapid Roundtables will gather community leaders, child advocates, and issue experts to unpack the inequities experienced by Texas children and their families. Each month, topics will cover current...

read more

Voices from the Field: Texas Child Care Providers Building Back Better

Texas Early Childhood Education Newsletter I September 2021 Before the COVID-19 pandemic, child care centers were some of the most economically vulnerable businesses in Texas. During the pandemic, Texas families relied on child care providers more than ever for essential services and critical early childhood education. While some providers were able to innovate and keep their doors open, others...

read more

Call for Papers: Child Firearm Injury & Domestic Violence

Children at Risk's Journal of Applied Research on Children and Journal of Family Strengths seek papers on two special issue topics: child firearm injury/safety and the impact of COVID-19 on domestic violence. Journal of Applied Research on Children Children at Risk and the Texas Medical Center Library request submissions for an upcoming special issue of the Journal of Applied Research on...

read more

COVID-19 Related Child Care Closures

Child care centers, already some of the most economically vulnerable businesses in Texas, provide an essential service to working families and critical early educaation for young children. Throughout the pandemic, permanent, temporary, and extended closures have left thousands of Texan families without access to reliable child care. Before COVID-19, child care was in short supply and cost more...

read more

2020 Annual Report

What a year! Even with COVID-19, our team’s hard work and zeal for changing the landscape for children in Texas has brought so many accomplishments for CHILDREN AT RISK and for the children and families we serve. Thank you, not just to our staff but to the many collaborators, board members, community partners, donors, public officials, researchers, and fellow advocates that supported our...

read more

Growing Up In Houston: Assessing the Quality of Life of Our Children

In partnership with the United Way of Greater Houston, JPMorgan Chase & Co., CHILDREN AT RISK is excited to share the 2021-2022 edition of Growing Up in Houston: Assessing the Quality of Life of Our Children. The goal of the GUIH project is three-fold: to provide stakeholders in our children’s future with a tool to help identify the most strategic and pressing areas for intervention; to...

read more

Newsletter Highlights Innovations & Emergency Efforts to Support Child Care, Families with Young Children.

Texas’ child care industry was on fragile footing well before the pandemic. In 2019, nearly 1-in-12 Texas children lived in a child care desert. Since the pandemic, and its resulting shut-downs, child care providers have faced challenge after challenge. From securing necessary cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment to increased operating costs and lower enrollment numbers, it is no...

read more

Investment & Innovation: Increasing Access to Quality, Affordable Child Care Before & During a Crisis

Exposure to high-quality early childhood education (ECE) is the foundation for future academic success, especially for children from low-income families. Increasing access to subsidized child care is one of the many pathways that Texas is utilizing to provide affordable early educational supports for children from low-income families. Governor Greg Abbott and the Texas Workforce Commission...

read more

TX Prenatal to Three Collaborative Speaks out on Proposed Budget Cuts

Now more than ever, Texas children and families need essential health services and programs. The recent budget cuts proposed by the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC), if enacted, would put more families at risk and could undermine the development and well-being of infants and toddlers. Children at Risk and the other leaders of the Texas Prenatal to Three Collaborative, Texas Cares for...

read more

100+ Child Advocates Urge Congress to #SaveChildcare

As Congress negotiates critical COVID-19 response bills, and we ask the Texas delegation to make infants, toddlers, and their families a priority. Relief Funding for child care is urgent! As many as 30% of Texas child care providers are currently closed. That number is expected to grow, with many centers potentially shutting down for good without federal support. For providers keeping their...

read more

Learning from Experience: Advice for PK-12 Schools from Summer 2020

COVID-19 has placed unprecedented strain on our education system with early closures and emergency shifts online leading to learning losses and inequities. We know how important it is for children to return to school in-person this fall, but will it be safe? Drawing on their experiences operating summer programs, child care centers, and other family services throughout the Coronavirus pandemic,...

read more

TXFLC Statement on COVID-19 & Systemic Racism

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Media Contact - Rashena Flagg, 713.301.4577  STATEMENT FROM THE TEXAS FAMILY LEADERSHIP COUNCIL ON COVID-19 AND SYSTEMIC RACISM The senseless killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and too many others, have garnered immense public out-cry, and brought new attention to the historic injustices and systemic racism that permeate our public systems and...

read more

When Schools Close & Parents Lose Jobs, Kids Go Hungry

Food is one of the most basic needs, yet many families routinely struggle to access it. As of 2017, around 1 in 7 Texans reported experiencing food insecurity. With unemployment rising and many families losing income due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this number has surely increased in recent months. Even if this spike in food insecurity is temporary, the impacts of lacking consistent access to...

read more


Now more than ever, we rely on Champions for Children like you to sustain our efforts for Texas children. Consider signing up to be a monthly donor or making a tax-deductible gift to keep us in the fight for children.

Stay Informed

Sign up for our Advocacy Alerts and other newsletters for updates during the interim, our latest policy analysis, and ways you can take action!

Talk to an Expert

CHILDREN AT RISK is pleased to offer expert speakers on pressing children’s issues for any venue.