Public Policy & Advocacy


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

March Round-Up: Advocates in Action

Advocates in Action As the 87th Texas Legislative Session heats up, Children at Risk advocates are hard at work supporting and drawing attention to good bills for kids. So far this session, Children at Risk has hosted three advocacy days and virtual rallies, registered support for legislation 29 times, submitted written testimony 13 times, and testified in person 13 times. Click the pictures...

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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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Investment & Innovation: Increasing Access to Quality, Affordable Child Care Before & During a Crisis

Exposure to high-quality early childhood education (ECE) is the foundation for future academic success, especially for children from low-income families. 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. Governor Greg Abbott and the Texas Workforce Commission...

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TX Prenatal to Three Collaborative Speaks out on Proposed Budget Cuts

Now more than ever, Texas children and families need essential health services and programs. 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, Texas Cares for...

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100+ Child Advocates Urge Congress to #SaveChildcare

As Congress negotiates critical COVID-19 response bills, and we ask the Texas delegation to make infants, toddlers, and their families a priority. Relief Funding for child care is urgent! As many as 30% of Texas child care providers are currently closed. That number is expected to grow, with many centers potentially shutting down for good without federal support. For providers keeping their...

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