North Texas

Texas Child Care Crisis Worsens Amid Inflation, Rising Costs

While the state works on legislation to help struggling parents pay for child care, other organizations have resources available this summer

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With the school year coming to a close across North Texas, families are having to find child care options for the summer.

But it couldn't come at a worse time as inflation, staff shortages at day cares and rising costs cut deeper into household budgets.

"In a time where Texas families are spending more and more on essential goods like housing and gas and food, the average Texas family is spending nearly $16,000 a year on childcare. Which is, to put that in perspective, more than they would spend on a year of tuition at UT Austin,” said David Feigen, Senior Policy Associate for Early Childhood for Texans Care for Children.

The group – a non-profit, non-partisan policy organization – met with lawmakers in Austin a few weeks ago for the legislature's only hearing of the year on child care policy.

"It was an encouraging hearing held at the Texas House of Representatives. And it builds on some really important steps the legislature took last legislative session," said Feigen. "But unfortunately, there's a lot more work to do. And we're going to need the legislature and the governor to really step up with a big time plan for Texas to help families afford care to help childcare programs, retain their workers, maintain their programs to be able to feed their families, and for businesses to have access to a workforce that is able to reliably show up to work."

Right now, Feigen said lawmakers are trying to implement new legislation that was passed this year, some of which helps parents and child-care providers better access funding to cover child care expenses.

"I think one of the things we need to really focus on is helping cut costs for parents and empower those families with more options," said Feigen. "One way to do that is to address the high number of children who are eligible for childcare subsidy or scholarships because their family is low income. In Dallas alone, there are over 4,000 kids who are on a subsidy waitlist. Many more whose families might not realize that they're even eligible for childcare subsidy. So the best thing we can invest in is helping those families who are eligible for childcare assistance find quality childcare in their community and access childcare subsidies in a way that is efficient. And I think it's something that parents will be grateful for the legislature to really prioritize and focus on because this has been a problem for years."

Until this new legislation moves forward, there are several organizations in North Texas that are equipped to help parents:

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