Public Policy & Advocacy

CHAMPIONS FOR CHILDREN

Research & data without action are not enough. CHILDREN AT RISK leverages its expertise to educate policymakers and advocate for policies that improve the lives of children.

The 87th Texas Legislature is now in Session!

Children at Risk advocates are hard at work with legislators and community leaders across Texas to drive change this legislative session. Visit our advocacy action center to find our current legislative resources and bill watchlist.

Public Policy and Law Center (PPLC)

The Public Policy and Law Center (PPLC) was established in 2006 as an outgrowth of CHILDREN AT RISK’s longtime research and advocacy work and in response to the American Bar Association’s appeal to the private bar, “[to] get involved and use its legal expertise on behalf of Houston’s children (American Bar Association Children’s Rights Litigation Committee, 2004).”

PPLC is led by a Law Advisory Board of over 35 attorneys from the legal and business communities and staffed with a dedicated and creative group of attorneys and public policy analysts, which has enabled it to be tremendously successful in its years of operation.

The mission of CHILDREN AT RISK’s Public Policy and Law Center is to improve the lives of children across Texas through:

  • Legal and policy research and advocacy
  • Legislative and administrative rule drafting
  • Drafting of amicus briefs and impact litigation
  • Continuing education for attorneys and other professionals on children’s legal and policy issue

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...

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Special Session Update: Public Education Takes Center Stage

Today, August 30th, the Texas House Public Education Committee will hold a hearing on mask mandates. Two school mask-centered bills are up for public discussion. HB 164 (Dutton) would give school districts the flexibility they need to follow public health recommendations and require masks when needed. HB 141 (Leach et al.) would do the opposite and prohibit schools from requiring masks. The...

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Congress Must Act to Protect DACA Recipients and Families

  On Friday, July 16, 2021, a federal judge in Texas ruled the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program unlawful. Established in 2012, DACA enables certain immigrants to obtain work permits and avoid deportation. The program currently provides a temporary reprieve for more than 600,000 undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children, often referred to...

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How did Children Fare in the 87th Texas Legislative Session?

Over the last 140 days, Children at Risk monitored thousands of bills, registered support for bills 93 times, provided written testimony 23 times, and provided oral testimony 20 times. Out of our initial legislative priorities, 17 bills ultimately made it to the Governor's desk. With the dust settled on the regular 87th Texas Legislative Session, Children at Risk advocates dove into the details...

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TXFLC Hosts Roundtable on Unaccompanied Children at the Border

In response to recent and upcoming delegation visits to migrant centers, the Texas Immigration Network, a Texas Family Leadership Council (TXFLC) workgroup, hosted a virtual roundtable to unpack the current issue of unaccompanied children at the Texas border. Speaking from their on-the-ground experiences working with migrant children, child advocates spoke on the condition of facilities, the...

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Testimony in Support of Early Childhood Education

ABOVE: Texas Prenatal to Three Collaborative members testify in support of several child care-related bills. Pictured from left to right: Sandy Dochen, Tom Hendrick, Chuck Cohn, Brooke Freeland, Marnie Glaser, Sarah Baray, Lyn Lucas, Kim Kofron, Melanie Rubin, and Mandi Kimball.In a historic public hearing held March 24th by the Texas House International Relations and Economic Development...

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Texas Business Leaders Show Support for Child Care Industry

Over 50 business leaders from across Texas have signed a letter to Governor Abbott, Lt. Governor Patrick, and Speaker Phelan, to pass critical legislation this session that protects child care providers, increases access to quality child care and early learning for young children, and supports working parents of young children. These businesses join CHILDREN AT RISK and a host of nonprofits to...

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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...

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Testimony in Support of HB 1540: Preventing Child Trafficking from RTCs

Children at Risk Senior Staff Attorney and Anti-Trafficking Expert, Jamey Caruthers, testified in support of House Bill 1540 (S. Thompson) in front of the Texas House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee on March 15, 2021. In Fiscal Year 2019, 1,973 children and youth were reported missing from DFPS custody. As in prior years, the living arrangements from which children and youth are missing most...

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Chronic Absenteeism In Texas

Before the pandemic, Texas had a problem with chronic absenteeism in its schools. Statewide, chronic absenteeism averages at 12.5% pre-COVID and varies dramatically by region. More than 740,000 students missed at least one-tenth of their instruction in 2019. The pandemic has likely exacerbated chronic absenteeism as more students face new challenges and educational disruptions. Chronic...

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