Child care providers (often referred to as “day care”) are important to our communities, and in Texas, about half of them care for low-income kids with working parents who receive financial assistance (or “subsidy”) from the Texas Workforce Commission. Even though this subsidized child care program receives taxpayer dollars just like public schools and is a critical factor in preparing children for school, for decades it has been managed independently of the public school program. This is peculiar to Texas, given that many other states coordinate subsidized child care, public Pre-K, and other publicly-funded early learning programs by housing them under one agency.
The 86th Legislature passed HB 680 by Representatives Deshotel and Lopez (sponsored by Senators Watson and West) provides accountability, transparency, and coordination around the state’s subsidized child care program. The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), which manages the state’s subsidized child care program, will be required to evaluate programs participating in the state’s quality rating system, Texas Rising Star, with the goal of improving safety in child care and enhancing partnerships with public school Pre-K.
This improved reporting and coordination will provide parents, policymakers, and educators with clearer information about the quality of subsidized child care paid for by state and federal funds. In addition, the information collected with HB 680 will better illustrate how we can get more kids school-ready, help schools connect with their incoming students and it can also help increase families’ access to quality child care.
Improving child care policies will also enhance the quality of child care in Texas, helping the growing brains of babies and toddlers to develop into healthy foundations for learning. The U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agree this coordination is a good idea because it can 1) improve services for children and families, 2) allow program leaders and lawmakers better understand the needs of children, and 3) help us better support children’s learning, health, and development. House Bill 680 helps Texas be smarter so we can provide better early childhood education #forchildren.
HB 680 – Connecting Education Systems
HB 680 helps connect data across early childhood education programs, so that we can better understand the impacts of our public investments. To learn more, watch this video!
HB 680 – Contracted Child Care Slots
HB 680 helps build supply of quality child care, so we can make sure all Texans have access to a quality early childhood education and a strong start to life. Learn more in the video below!