Early Childhood Education

The brain’s architecture is built during a child’s first 1000 days

Early Childhood Education lays the foundation for a child’s future. CHILDREN AT RISK is working to ensure every child and family has access to affordable high-quality early education programs and strengthening an early childhood workforce that is prepared, rewarded, and supported.

Texas children under 5 live in poverty

Low-income children 0-6 live in a child care desert


of child care workers qualify for at least one form of public assistance

Our Latest Early Childhood Education

Research & Resources

Investment and Innovation

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. 

In our latest report, CHILDREN AT RISK examines the utilization of the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) before and during COVID-19, specifically by focusing on the disbursement of the 2018 funding and the $371,663,374 in supplemental CCDBG funding through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and the Economic Security (CARES) Act. The report also describes how CCDBG funding was used to increase reimbursement rates and access to quality child care. In addition, the report explores investment in initiatives such as: shared services, public-private partnerships, contract agreements, an infant toddler network, and the workforce as innovative solutions to stabilize the child care industry. Within each section, we offer policy recommendations essential to improving the quality of affordable child care.

Increasing the Supply and Stability of Quality Care

Child care contracts are an effective way to build the supply and stabilize high-quality care for children from low-income families. The contracts build stable, quality supply by guaranteeing the availability of quality seats in areas of great need, like child care deserts, underserved areas, or an area with a shortage of quality child care. During the 86th Legislative Session, the Legislature passed HB 680 which approves the use of contract agreements by Local Workforce Development Boards (LWDB) with quality providers in the state’s subsidy child care program.

To help LWDBs, providers, and stakeholders understand more about child care contracts in Texas, CHILDREN AT RISK developed a one-pager to present key information on child care contracts.

Texas Prenatal to Three Letter on Proposed Budget Cuts

Texas children and families need essential health services and programs, now more than ever. 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, Texans Care for Children and TexProtects, sent a letter to urge Texas leaders against these cuts.

COVID-19 Impacts on Child Care

In Texas, there are roughly 30% of child care providers currently closed and many are struggling to stay open. This number is expected to grow, with many centers potentially shutting down for good without federal support. For providers, keeping their doors open, operating safely means lowering the number of children they can serve, reducing revenue, all while spending more on sanitation and new health procedures. In Texas, the child care industry as a direct revenue of $3.64 billion. A collapse of our child care industry would be disastrous for Texas families and our state’s economy.

CHILDREN AT RISK’s Early Childhood Education Coalition, consisting of child care providers, advocates, and community stakeholders signed on to a letter urging Congress to prioritize $50 billion to stabilize and sustain the child care industry.

Child Care Desert Map

With support from the Kellogg Foundation, CHILDREN AT RISK presents the Texas Child Care Desert Map — an interactive tool to explore the local availability of child care across the state of Texas.

CHILDREN AT RISK seeks to answer the following question with our child care desert map: Does the supply of child care in your area meet the demand for services among children of working parents?

Shared Services Alliances

Shared Services empower child care providers by helping them save time and money on day-to-day operations, so they can invest back into their business, provide quality care, and best serve their children and families. CHILDREN AT RISK is working to establish Shared Services Alliances in three regions across Texas – Amarillo, Central Texas, and San Antonio. These alliances will allow child care providers to partner with other providers and nonprofits in their area to leverage economies of scale and secure the best prices on goods and services.

To learn more about this exciting work and the power of Shared Services for Texas, check out the video on the right, and read our full report.

Recent Blog Posts

Access to Affordable High-Quality Child Care is Scarce

By Kaeleigh Hernandez, Early Childhood Education and Sara Moran, Center for Social Measurement and Evaluation  (Note: The analyses in this post uses data on child care centers from September 2019) Across Texas, nearly half of all child care providers accept subsidies...

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