Parents with young children rely on access to local child care settings in order to work and provide for their families. Young children rely on the state of Texas to ensure that, when left in a licensed child care facility, they are not only safe and healthy, but also growing and learning in furtherance of success in school and life.
An extensive 12-part investigative report from the Austin Statesman in 2018 spotlights the failure of the system to keep children safe. The report shows how Texas' lack of a coordinated child care system cannot currently ensure collective quality and safety.
This session, we are asking legislators to prioritize strengthening child care safety and quality. There are multiple bills that have been filed that would support these efforts, including:
- SB 568 (Huffman) & SB 569 (Huffman): child cares would be financially penalized for abuse, neglect or exploitation violations and failing to tell parents about an injury, illness, or neglect. Additionally, the state would be required to place minimum health and safety standards for family home facilities.
- HB 1084 (Raymond): creates a committee to analyze child care data and develop recommendations on maximum child care group size and child-caregiver ratios.
- HB 1431 (Guerra): re-establishes a unit dedicated to finding illegal child care operations. Nearly half of the abuse or neglect deaths happened in so-called illegal child care operations - day care facilities that operate without licenses - and the Texas Department of Health & Human Services would like funding to restore this unit.