CHILDREN AT RISK ECE Team presented new data & gathered stakeholder feedback in 10 texas cities

During the weeks of April 11 and April 25, the Children At Risk Early Childhood Education Team hosted roundtable discussions with ECE providers, advocates, and stakeholders in 10 Texas cities to discuss their new report, the Quest for Equity & Quality, present new data on childcare closures through the pandemic, and invite participation and advocacy ahead of the 88th legislative session. The team met (virtually) in Dallas, Fort Worth, Lubbock, Midland, Dallas, San Antonio, Houston, Amarillo, El Paso, and Rio Grande Valley.

Throughout the discussions, participants were asked to provide local perspectives on Texas Rising Star participation. As they were in the Quest for Equity & Quality report, recurring themes for providers not participating in the Texas QRIS system included administrative concerns, lack of knowledge about the program, and extreme difficulties with staffing needs. Participants reported that in their areas providers appreciate the mentoring, resources, and increased reimbursement rates that come with Texas Rising Star participation.

Texas Tour Participants shared reasons child care providers in their area do and do not participate in Texas Rising Star. Above are examples from 6 cities.

After discussing the Quest for Equity & Quality report and collecting local experiencies and feedback, the ECE team presented closure data from Child Care Regulations that was analyzed in partnership with Child Care Aware of America. Statewide, 21.2% of child care programs were closed in September 2021 (compared to early March 2020). 79.1% of programs that closed were family child care centers. Only 2.9% of programs that closed were in Texas Rising Star, suggesting the program offered much needed support through COVID. The data also suggests that stabilization grants from the Texas Workforce Commission helped child care centers stay open with only 1.6% of programs that received a stabilization grant had closed in Sept. 2021.

Finally, the presentation ended with a call to action to contact Texas legislators during the interim to ensure they are prioritizing child care going into the 88th Legislative Session. Specifically, the International Relations and Economic Development Committee has been given an interim charge relating to child care.


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