Members of the Texas Legislature have announced a new Early Childhood Caucus to bring together lawmakers in the Texas House on a bipartisan basis to explore policy opportunities to better support the parents of young children, promote healthy child development, and improve kindergarten readiness, early literacy, and school success. The Caucus includes 32 founding members.
Early childhood policy advocates praised lawmakers for launching the Caucus and pledged to work closely with Caucus members.
“We’re really excited to see so many legislators committed to ensuring that our state policies give kids a strong start in life. From bolstering high-quality child care to providing health coverage to little kids to tackling the COVID academic slide for English Learners and other young students, we know there are a lot of opportunities for legislators to come together to support our youngest kids in Texas. Although parents are their children’s first and most important nurturer and teacher, smart public policies are critical to support infants and toddlers during this critical period of rapid brain development.”
David Feigen, Early Childhood Policy Associate
Texans Care for Children
In the current Texas legislative session, there are significant early childhood bills and budget decisions under consideration, including:
- Funding for Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) for infants and toddlers, which is currently underfunded in the Senate budget proposal;
- Bills to improve access to high-quality child care;
- Bills to support English Learners during early childhood;
- A proposal to set class size and teacher-student ratio limits in pre-k;
- A proposal to scale up voluntary nurse home visiting programs to support families with newborns, such as Family Connects;
- Legislation that would keep moms of infants enrolled in health insurance until the baby’s first birthday;
- A proposal that would keep more eligible children enrolled in health insurance; and
- A proposal that would promote group prenatal and group well-child care innovations.
The Caucus has launched a new website, www.texashouseecc.com, which lists the Caucus members and additional information on their goals.