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 works to ensure every child and family has access to high-quality early education programs.

Building Brains & Economies

Over a 6-month period across the US, 45% of parents miss work at least once due to child care disruptions, costing American businesses approximately $4.4 billion every year. Lack of affordable child care forces many families to reduce hours or drop out of the workforce, which results in an estimated $8.3 billion annually in lost wages.

Quality child care helps parents during a time when they are stressed and stretched for time and resources, and it provides them with important information on the education and development of their child. From birth through age 3, a child’s brain is forming connections that are literally building a foundation that will impact the child’s future learning, health, and behaviors. The foundation is heavily influenced by interactions with that child’s caregivers, such as parents or child care teachers. Without a strong foundation, children are less likely to succeed in school and later in the workforce.

On a nine-city tour, CHILDREN AT RISK  unveiled an executive summary of their upcoming report, Building Brains and Economies: Quality Child Care as an Engine for Economic Development in a 21st Century Texas, as well as a mapping tool to help local and state leaders improve access to quality early childhood education.

If we want children to have a strong start to life—and if we want our economy to stay vibrant— the state of Texas must improve access to affordable, quality child care.
Dr. Bob Sanborn


Child Care – An Essential Work Support for Women

In Travis County, key indicators for the current and future workforce should sound the alarm for the local economy. Many workers are parents, but women with young children are less likely to participate in the workforce than their male counterparts.

In partnership with the Austin Community Foundation, CHILDREN AT RISK  releases Child Care – An Essential Work Support for Women. A 2018 Analysis of Access to Child Care in Central Texas.

Access to affordable child care is a critical two-generation approach for families in Central Texas. Parents, particularly mothers, who want or need to work have a difficult time finding child care that meets their needs and their budgets. Children benefit from high quality early learning settings, preparing them for success in school and later in the workforce. This report provides an overview of Central Texas families, their access to child care, and recommendations for philanthropists and community stakeholders to overcome key barriers to providing quality child care for all families.

children under 6 do not have access to affordable child care in Central Texas.

Child Care Desert & Affordability Map

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

Does the supply of child care in your area meet the demand for services among children of working parents? How much of their income are families in your area paying for child care? View the 

Shared Services

In recent years, Texas advocates, researchers, child care providers, public officials, and other stakeholders have been working to improve the quality of child care and access to quality child care, especially for low-income families. While there is no silver bullet, using a Shared Services framework to strengthen systems at the provider level is a promising concept. A Shared Services approach focuses on sharing skilled staff and resources to provide business and pedagogical leadership among a network of center- and/or home-based providers.

To learn more about Shared Services in Texas, read our full report Improving the Quality of Child Care Through Economies of Scale: a Look at Shared Services Approaches for Texas.

Early Investment Project: Subsidized Child Care in Texas

In preparation for the 85th Legislative Session, CHILDREN AT RISK researched and collaborated with statewide partners on policy priorities and community needs. We completed 9-city Texas Tour to release key findings on the state-funded child care system. Texas’ child care subsidy system provides over $500 million per year for child care assistance to low-income working families, offering a critical source of early learning for our state’s most vulnerable children.

The Early Investment Project is a year-long study funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The resulting report describes the current landscape of early education in our state and explores options for using our resources more efficiently. Quality child care programs are critical for getting kids school ready, improving their academic success, and increasing economic prosperity for our state.

ECE Blog Posts

Early Childhood Stakeholders Urge Texas Leaders to Improve Child Care Quality

For Immediate ReleaseContact: Rashena Flagg, rashena@pretcfirm.com, 713-301-4577 HOUSTON  -  In a letter to the Governor, state legislators, and health and human services leaders, 23 organizations and stakeholders in the early childhood field urged for improved...

2018 Texas Tour: Building Brains & Economies

On a nine-city tour, CHILDREN AT RISK  unveiled an executive summary of their upcoming report, Building Brains and Economies: Quality Child Care as an Engine for Economic Development in a 21st Century Texas, as well as a mapping tool to help local and state leaders...

Human trafficking near Texas public schools

By David McClendon and Jamey Caruthers, CHILDREN AT RISK (To view the map, click here)  Across the state of Texas, there are hundreds of illegal massage businesses (IMBs) acting as fronts for human trafficking and sexual exploitation. These illicit businesses are...

Number of Uninsured Children in Texas Could Increase 60% if Congress Fails to Renew CHIP

By David McClendon, Center for Social Measurement and Evaluation The uncertain fate of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, in Congress is putting 400,000 low-income Texas children at risk of losing their health insurance. CHIP provides health insurance...

School districts with the top food programs for low-income students in Texas

By David McClendon and Jenny Eyer, Center for Social Measurement and Evaluation  Across Texas, over 3 million low-income students qualify for free or reduced-price school meals through federal programs such as the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast...