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The Alliance for Early Success has two principal grantees in Texas. Children at Risk serves as a catalyst for change to improve the quality of life for children. Through its research and advocacy programs, they are a leader in understanding the health, safety and economic indicators impacting children, and educating public policy makers about their importance in improving the lives of children. Texans Care for Children is a statewide, nonpartisan, multi-issue children’s policy organization. They develop policy solutions, produce research, and engage community leaders to educate policymakers, the media, and the public about what works to improve the well-being of Texas children and families.

Children at Risk • Houston, TX
Texans Care for Children • Austin, TX
Top Priorities for 2021

Increase access to quality affordable care for low-income infants and toddlers (e.g., increase participation in the subsidy program and Texas Rising Star). (Children at Risk)

Advocate for additional state funding to support the implementation of shared service alliances. (Children at Risk)

Extend Medicaid coverage for new moms from 60 days to 12 months (Texans Care for Children)

Expand workforce supports, such as apprenticeships, that increase the number of early childhood educators with a child development associate credential, associate degree, or bachelor degree. (Children at Risk)

Educate policymakers about the impact of racial disparities and recommend legislative actions, including the addition of a racial disparities impact statement when creating legislation. (Children at Risk)

Ensure continuous health coverage for children enrolled in Medicaid. (Texans Care for Children)

Advocate to require the Texas Workforce Commission to create a statewide plan to improve and strengthen the early childhood education workforce. (Children at Risk)

Support home-based child care providers to participate in Texas Rising Star. (Children at Risk)

Protect funding for key programs serving low-income children and families such as Medicaid, CHIP, prevention programs (home visiting), ECI, and pre-k. (Texans Care for Children)

Texas’ 2020 Early Childhood Policy Landscape and Progress:

Estimated FY20 State General Fund Expenditures

House (R), Senate (R),
Governor (R)

1,565,212 Young Children (0-8) are Below 200% FPL

Fiscal landscape is dire, but Texas does have an $8 billion rainy day fund. Child care needs are overwhelming. There are insufficient investments in child care, which caused increased demand and child care deserts. Texas has the highest rate of uninsured children in the United States. The Texas foster care system remains under scrutiny by federal courts. 

Texas did not have a legislative session in 2020. Allies focused on ensuring young children and their families have access to and benefit from the services and supports they need to stay healthy and thrive. Until recently, legislators have not spoken publicly about many early childhood issues. The governor did make child care accessible to essential workers.

Allies in Texas:

  • Secured key recommendations in Texas Health and Human Services Commission’s first ever strategic plan to address postpartum depression in the Healthy Texas Women program.
  • Hosted three briefings for legislators and staff to provide policy recommendations and educate legislative staff on child care.
  • Are developing a Racial Equity Policy Agenda to promote during the Texas Legislative Session in 2021, including examination of racial disparities in compensation of the child care workforce. Legislation was pre-filed in 2020.
  • Are developing an Early Childhood Legislative Caucus with a planned launch in the Texas House of Representatives in 2021.

Advances include:

*Early childhood policy progress in a state is the result of numerous efforts — by those listed on this page and many others — who worked both independently and collaboratively to achieve wins for young children.

More from Texas:

Download the full 50-State report.

The Alliance for Early Success 2020 50-State Progress Report on Early Childhood Policy expands state data (disaggregating low-income young children by race) and provides high-level state policy trend analysis for the nation as a whole. Click the icon to download the report.

State Budget Data: National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO), “Table 4: Fiscal 2020 State General Fund, Estimated (Millions); The Fiscal Survey of the States.” Spring, 2020

Low-Income Data (including disaggregation by race): National Center for Children in Poverty, “NCCP Analysis of ACS 1-year Estimates—Public Use Microdata Sample, 2019.”

State Action Data: Provided by state advocates, October-November 2020, with analysis and synthesis by Frontera Strategy for Alliance for Early Success, “Protecting Progress and Investing in Scale: The 2020 50-State Progress Report on Early Childhood Education Policy.”

Additional State Actions: Mincic, Melissa,  Early Care and Education, State Budget Actions, Fiscal Year 2020. National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), October 2020. 


The Alliance for Early Success is achieving large-scale, long-lasting change for the state’s young children by providing our allies with powerful advantages that help them shape Texas early childhood policy.